SEQ Mayors have reacted angrily to the Bligh Government decision to take direct control of planning for Stockland’s Caloundra South development from the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, describing the move as ‘anti-democratic’.
Council of Mayors (SEQ) Chairman Councillor Campbell Newman said the Bligh Government was trampling on the rights of communities right across Queensland with its powerful but unaccountable Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA).
“The ULDA is unelected, unaccountable and busily pushing the planning policies of unelected State Government bureaucrats on local communities,” Cr Newman said.
“Residents are being denied a say in the big debates about the future shape of their communities,” he said.
Redland Mayor Cr Melva Hobson said the Caloundra South takeover was a backward step for sustainable development in South East Queensland.
“The community’s desire to deliver more sustainable communities is under threat if big developers can knock on the Premier’s door and have the whole thing overturned,” she said.
Gold Coast Mayor Cr Ron Clarke said he was concerned about the influence developers have over the State Government, and the increasing number of instances of the State cutting out the right of the community and their local governments to influence development.
“This is the first time that the State Government has intervened at a developers request and said that a whole new city of 50,000 people will be developed with no community say and no appeals,” Cr Clarke said.
“Whatever happened to the SEQ Regional Plan being a partnership between State and Local Government?” he asked.
Council of Mayors (SEQ) Planning Committee Chair and Scenic Rim Mayor Cr John Brent said that the Council of Mayors would strongly support the Sunshine Coast Regional Council in its dispute with the State Government.
“Sunshine Coast Regional Council has done everything right from a planning perspective. The State Government has lined up with the state’s largest developer against the Sunshine Coast community. We can’t let this precedent stand,” Cr Brent said.