Mayor condemns planning decision
  • Tuesday 05 October 2010

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Bob Abbot has described the decision to strip council of its planning authority over the largest development in the region’s history as an attack on the Sunshine Coast community.

The Premier today announced that planning for Caloundra South and Bellvista stage two—sites that will eventually accommodate an additional 50,000 residents—would be transferred to the State Government’s Urban Land Development Authority.

Cr Abbot has condemned the move, saying it was yet another slap in the face for the Sunshine Coast and an outrageous abuse of power.

He said it would deny the Coast community the right to determine its own future and he was fed up with the Bligh Government treating the region and its residents with contempt.

"These developments will have an enormous and lasting impact on the entire Sunshine Coast," Cr Abbot said.

"Council was determined to ensure that both developments included sustainable urban design. We wanted rock solid agreements in place about how and when the $1.8 billion in infrastructure needed to support them would be funded.

"This government seems to be more concerned about the desires of the developer than the needs of Sunshine Coast residents.

"Its decision to deny us the right to plan for our region’s future is a disgrace."

The Mayor said he was prepared for battle and had the support of other council leaders who viewed the move as an attack on local government.

Cr Abbot said the Sunshine Coast Council had demonstrated it was up to the task of planning for these sites, as one of only two councils in Queensland to a deliver a structure plan to the Government and the only council to have negotiated an infrastructure agreement as part of the process.

He said claims the developments had to be rushed through to provide affordable housing simply did not stack up.

"Any suggestion that the government needed to step in because we need more land approved to provide affordable housing is utter nonsense," Cr Abbot said.

"We have 6,000 blocks already approved and ready to be developed in the region and the Palmview structure plan includes another 800 lots that could be developed immediately.

"Furthermore, the government has given the ULDA 12 months to complete the planning process for Caloundra South when council could have had it finalised in February."

Cr Abbot said similarly, any suggestion that this development would begin sooner under the ULDA was untrue.

"The reality is that development at Caloundra South will not begin for at least another couple of years, regardless of who has control of planning.

"The Government has criticised our planning record but our completion of the Palmview structure plan has proven that to be unfounded.

"The delay in finalising these structure plans has been created by the government’s recent announcement that the Caloundra aerodrome would stay put – after telling us for the past few years that it would definitely move.

"There is no logic in the government’s decision to hand planning to the ULDA and the reasons they have given are nothing more than spin.

"We were willing to get on with the job but we were determined to deliver good outcomes for the Sunshine Coast in the process.

"Sadly, this Government doesn’t appear to be concerned about that."

View the Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbot's full interview