Planning & Environment

Planning Instruments

We have extensive experience in assisting Councils with the legal aspects of drafting planning schemes and other instruments.  While the substantive content of a planning scheme is a matter for Councils to determine, after considering advice from their town planning, economic, engineering and social policy advisers (and not lawyers), they must never lose sight of the fact that their planning schemes are a piece of legislation.  Unless the actual drafting of the document is carried out with the required levels of legal certainty, to make its intent and operation both apparent and legally enforceable, the planning and policy objectives which Councils intend to pursue in their planning schemes may end up being disregarded, or at least diluted, by the Planning and Environment Court.

The development of planning scheme provisions which achieve the twin objectives of reflecting the Council's planning policy decisions in language which is meaningful to Councillors, officers and the community, while at the same time containing the required legal certainty, requires a multi-disciplinary team effort.  We have an important role to play in relation to the second of those objectives.

We understand the proper role of lawyers in this process and have the experience and expertise, arising out of involvement in the drafting of planning scheme provisions going back over 35 years, to play that role in a cost-efficient and legally effective manner, as part of the team involved in the preparation of any planning scheme.

Councils are increasingly turning to the adoption of temporary local planning instruments to assist in achieving desired planning outcomes.  In this regard we have reviewed, or assisted in the drafting of all sorts of planning instruments like:

  • Gold Coast City Council’s (Varsity Lakes) Temporary Local Planning Instrument;
  • Somerset Regional Council’s Temporary Local Planning Instrument for Infrastructure Contributions;
  • Gold Coast City Council’s East Coomera Koala Conservation Temporary Local Planning Instrument;
  • Isaac Regional Council’s Moranbah Airport Temporary Local Planning Instrument;
  • Mount Isa City Council’s Temporary Local Planning Instrument - Flooding;
  • Western Downs Regional Council’s “Battleaxe Allotments” Temporary Local Planning Instrument;
  • South Burnett Regional Council’s Temporary Local Planning Instrument - Residential Development Within Historic Subdivisions;
  • Banana Shire Council Planning Scheme change to reduce risk from natural hazards and associated feasible alternatives assessment report;
  • Cook Shire Council on-street car parking policy.


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