Across Queensland, residents have lost control of their neighbourhoods.
The Greens would fundamentally transform and democratise our planning system. We’ll take power from the developers and give it back to everyday Queenslanders.
Planning for People, not Profit
The Queensland Greens would:
- Ensure property developers pay their fair share so we can afford crucial public infrastructure
- Tax property developers 75% of the value gains made from land rezonings
- Remove the $20,000 cap on developer infrastructure charges
- Launch a groundbreaking trial of deliberative democracy for neighbourhood plans
- Tighten neighbourhood plans to end special deals for developers
- Strict and binding height limits
- No exemptions to boundary setbacks
- Binding minimum requirements for trees and green space
- Overhaul the Planning Act
- Make sure all major developments are “Impact Assessable”
- Strengthen community objection rights
- Close loopholes in the Planning Act
- Restrict construction noise
- No development in extremely flood-prone areas
Developers currently get a free ride
When land is rezoned for a higher use, property developers make massive, windfall profits, but they don’t pay anything for the privilege. This is a massive giveaway of public wealth into private hands. The current system encourages corruption and backroom deals, and it makes property speculation worse, pushing up prices.
Overwhelmingly, these massive “gifts” flow to rich, well-connected property developers who can afford expensive lobbyists. Queensland research by Murray and Frijters (2015) has shown that "well-connected" landowners held 75% of the land rezoned in growth areas, compared with only 12% of comparable land immediately outside the rezoning.1
Murray and Frijters’ work has uncovered an alarming network of informal “mates” who benefit from public handouts. Political donations, informal networks and the revolving door between big corporations, Labor and the LNP keep these favors flowing. It’s time to turn off the tap.
Make Property Developers Pay
The Greens would impose a 75% Developer Tax on increases in land value due to rezoning. Estimates from Murray and Frijters shows that Queensland would earn $1.8 billion per year.2 That’s an extra $9 billion over five years that we can use to pay for more affordable housing, schools and hospitals.
In the ACT, a similar set of policies brings in $183 million per year on a much smaller tax base. This system has been in place since 1971.
Developer Tax on Land Rezoning
The Developer Tax would apply to any land which is rezoned to a higher use, whether as part of a new neighbourhood plan or on an ad hoc basis. It would be levied at 75% of the difference between the officially assessed land value before the rezoning compared to the land value afterwards. The amount of tax due would be assessed at the time the land is rezoned. Landowners would not need to pay the tax until a development application is approved under the new higher zone.
This means a homeowner would not need to pay the tax if their land happens to be rezoned, unless they have a development application approved under the new higher zone, so applying for a renovation won’t necessarily trigger the charging of the tax.
Remove the cap on developer infrastructure charges
The Queensland government imposes an arbitrary $20,000 cap on “infrastructure charges” for new developments which local governments use to fund vital facilities like parks and public transport.
The Greens would remove these caps on infrastructure charges so that local councils have the flexibility to charge developers according to the cost of delivering crucial infrastructure.
for neighbourhood plans
Our political system has been corrupted by dodgy donations from property developers, and residents feel like they’ve lost control of their communities. Right now, local governments write neighbourhood plans, conduct tokenistic “community consultation” and then approve the plans with very little scrutiny.
We would put power in the hands of residents by launching a groundbreaking trial of deliberative neighbourhood democracy.
Instead of being written and then rubber stamped by local governments, neighbourhood plans would be crafted by planning experts, elected councillors and “citizen juries” from the local area and the region. Members of the citizen juries would be paid for their time, and would be given the necessary information, time, space and resources to deliberate.
Residents have the final say
In the trial, neighbourhood plans would need to be approved by a community referendum held to coincide with local or State government elections. Local governments would still need to approve the plans, but residents would have the final say.
Tighten Neighbourhood Plans
Far too often, powerful and well-connected property developers “negotiate” exemptions and carve-outs from crucial planning rules. The Queensland Greens would strengthen the rules to end these special deals.
Strict and binding height limits
Individual developers should not be allowed ‘performance-based’ exemptions to height limits, as the potential for corruption is too high. Developers and landowners need certainty, but currently some sites zoned for 10 storeys are approved for 15.
Proper transitioning and no exemptions to boundary setbacks
The Greens would seek to abolish exemptions to side or rear boundary setbacks. Setback limits can always be changed through the neighbourhood planning process, but not on an ad hoc basis for individual developers. In much the same way, neighbourhood plans must also ensure appropriate transition occurs between zones.
Binding minimum requirements for trees and green space
The Greens would make sure that publicly-accessible green space and other community facilities are provided on site for major developments rather than money being “allocated” for provision elsewhere which may never eventuate. Developers would also be required to allocate funding for maintenance of on-site green space in advance.