We manage approvals for projects that have the potential to cause environmental harm or nuisance if not properly planned and managed, and others that are located in places where planning is necessary to ensure that impacts on sensitive environmental values are acceptable.
Dealing with Environmental Values
Delivering projects throughout regional Queensland involves dealing with a variety of different environments and sensitive areas. The State Government has identified areas as containing environmental values (through its ‘SARA’ mapping), and the relevant legislation contains certain requirements for undertaking particular activities in these areas – contained in codes called ‘SDAP modules’.
Likewise, a local government may have identified particular values for part of its Shire, and have specific assessment criteria that applies to undertaking certain types of development in those places.
Our approach to dealing with these issues is to address them early (to manage risk, time and cost) by:
- understanding whether the site is mapped as containing environmental values
- determining the criteria that is relevant to the values in the context of the proposal
- determining whether the development is consistent with the criteria and its purpose, or how it might be changed so that it can be.
We often brief specialist ecologists to undertake reporting to assist with the above, and specifically work with them to ensure their reports respond to the relevant assessment criteria to assist the authorities in assessing the proposal.
Development with External Impacts
Uses that might be offensive and hazardous that are incompatible with sensitive (like houses, schools and the like) land uses are often necessary to support our modern way of life. These might be quarries that involve the extraction, screening and processing of rock, cattle feedlots, transport depots with trucks and heavy machinery, refineries or factories, fuel storages or heavy industries – and we need to plan for them and manage them accordingly. They will often involve Environmentally Relevant Activities (requiring essentially an ‘environmental license’), which may be need to be obtained through a development application.
We understand the need for these land uses and how to plan for them in regional Queensland, and have experience in obtaining many of these types of approvals over the past decade.
The State Government has mapped areas that are affected by regulations, laws and codes that manage vegetation clearing. This affects applications in such areas where vegetation clearing may be a part of or a consequence of vegetation clearing – and in many cases, affects not only whether a project will be lodged, but whether or not it prohibits development and is allowed be lodged with the relevant agencies.
Likewise, some local government planning schemes also specifically regulate vegetation clearing, or activities that might result in vegetation clearing.
We have a thorough understanding of the vegetation clearing assessment frameworks, and recommend that this critical issue be considered at the outset of any such project that might be affected by such a constraint.
Commonwealth Environmental Approvals
Most applications and projects across regional Queensland are advanced without the need for an application to be made to the Commonwealth under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 – fundamentally because they are unlikely to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance. Some applications – commonly in our part of the word it is those that might have an impact on the Great Barrier Reef or involve impacts on endangered or vulnerable plants or animals – will require referral to the Department of Environment.
We have made applications of this nature, and are familiar with the Department and its processes for the assessment of such applications.
Marine and Tidal Works Approvals
Marine and tidal works have a specific process approval process involving State and Council assessment. We have expertise in dealing with these types of approvals, and have delivered:
- Planning approvals strategy for the Ross Creek Promenade for Townsville City Council, in the Townsville City Waterfront Priority Development Area
- Approval for the Guthalungra Aquaculture project for Pacific Reef Fisheries
- Approval for the Palm Island rock wall replacement
- Approval for the new floating pontoon for Palm Island
- Approval for the new jetty at Orpheus Island Resort, and associated bed-levelling/ dredging.