News

ShapingSEQ: Draft South East Queensland Regional Plan Released

The Queensland Government has released a draft of the next iteration of the ShapingSEQ: Draft South East Queensland Regional Plan. 

The Plan has been a statutory instrument since the first plan came into effect in 2005 and was reviewed in 2009 to take into account changing circumstances and revised population forecasts.

The next iteration has been released for public comment and has sought to identify ways to manage SEQ’s projected population growth to 5.4 million residents by 2041.

One of the five goals outlined in the Plan relates to the protection and management of natural assets and cultural heritage. The SEQ region is identified as a biodiversity hotspot and is home to around 2,400 fauna species and 6,000 flora species and habitats from sub-tropical rainforests to mangrove forests. Naturally, the Plan has always had a focus on protection of this unique biodiversity to ensure that urban growth does not critically impair functioning of the region’s terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

The draft Plan seeks to increase the emphasis on sustainable use of natural assets through protecting and enhancing the regional biodiversity network. Strategies include:

  • Protect regional biodiversity values (including Koala habitat), and ecological processes that support them, from inappropriate development
  • Focus on coordinated planning, management and investments, including offset delivery, in regional biodiversity corridors
  • Avoid fragmentation of regional biodiversity corridors
  • Maintain and enhance the value of biodiversity corridors to optimise biodiversity conservation outcomes.

‚ÄčThis focus on strengthening ecological linkages throughout the region is an admirable goal since fragmentation of habitats is considered a major threatening process to many flora and fauna species. 

The Plan encourages local governments to identify and map regional biodiversity corridors and values within their areas as Matters of Local Environmental Significance (MLES). Such matters would conceivably then be subject to offsets under the Environmental Offsets Act 2014 when significant impacts are proposed. The MLES complements the existing Matters of State Environmental Significance (MSES) that are identified in the State Planning Policy and include matters such as protected areas, regulated vegetation, essential habitat, threatened wildlife and wetlands and watercourses.

The South East Queensland Regional Plan is available for public comment until Friday, 3 March 2017.

Contact

We're currently helping industry with providing comments, answering questions about the impact of the Plan on proposed developments, and liaising with local government regarding mapping and understanding their local assets.

To discuss ShapingSEQ and its implications for your project, please contact Dave Fleming, Principal Ecologist in our Brisbane office, on 1300 839 325 or dfleming@ehpartners.com.au.


Relevant links

Shaping SEQ website
ShapingSEQ: Draft South East Queensland Regional Plan
Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning





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