Allegations are wrong

Clarification in response to letter to the Redland City Bulletin, Friday 17 July 2015

As Redland City Council General Manager responsible for Council’s Planning and Assessments responsibilities, I want to challenge the alleged concerns about development compliance within the Redlands expressed by your letters correspondent Lorraine Winchester of Point Lookout.

Sadly, Ms Winchester‘s claim that some developments do not comply with the Redlands Planning Scheme (Council Election on Development – July 15) is a repeat of your paper’s own misleading editorial comment on 3 June 2015 that “what has become most concerning are suggestions that some developments are winning Redland City Council approval in spite of being outside the Planning Scheme guidelines”.

Such comments are not only wrong, they are a slur on Council officers, who work within the strict planning framework and attendant legal obligations set by multiple layers of legislation and state planning instruments.

What is not often understood is that the planning system in Queensland is a performance-based, rather than a prescriptive system. Under such a system ‘concessions’ are not given, as suggested by Ms Winchester. Rest assured, however, that the Planning and Environment Court is acutely aware of how the planning system is intended to operate and is established to ensure that this occurs.

There are strict decision-making rules under the State Government’s Sustainable Planning Act that establishes how applications are determined by local governments.

I can assure you and your paper’s Opinion readers that Council assesses all applications as required by the Act and is accountable for its planning decisions. The planning decisions of Council have to withstand scrutiny through the Courts, based upon expert evidence, rather than unfounded opinions.

Unlike vague allegations of non-compliance, Council’s planning and assessment processes are fair and transparent and legally required to balance the permissible interests of the community with those of individual applicants as provided for within the planning scheme and state legislation.

Yours sincerely

Louise Rusan

General Manager
Community and Customer Services