by Jane Dillon
Legislative amendments to planning laws have been recommended to Queensland Parliament as part of its COVID-19 response. The Legislative Assembly has recommended further temporary extensions to various legislative measures including changes to accessing public documents; changes to permitted hours of operation for some commercial uses; and permission for licensed venues to sell takeaway liquor upon approval by the Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming.
The Public Health and Other Legislation (Further Extension of Expiring Provisions) Amendment Bill 2021 was tabled in Parliament on 6 August 2021.
Changes of significance to planners and regulators are:
Variations to approved operating hours for some commercial uses via a temporary use licence
The Bill provides that shops, warehouses and transport depots may be declared as uses that can operate 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
Businesses can apply for a temporary use licence (TUL) to allow them to extend their operating rights during the “applicable event” (where a change of operating use would typically require a planning approval or variation to an existing approval, proponents are instead able to complete an application for a TUL (for which there is no application fee) and if their application is successful, alter their operations for the duration of the applicable event.
Licensed venues may sell takeaway liquor upon receipt of a Takeaway Liquor Authority from the Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming
Changes to the Liquor Act have enabled the Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming to issue a Takeaway Liquor Authority (TLA) to allow licensed operators of restaurants, bars and cafes to sell takeaway liquor as specified in the TLA when the normal operation of their business has been affected (for example, by lockdowns and social distancing related capacity constraints), regardless of the limitations of their current licence or permit.
Access to planning documents
The Planning Regulation prescribes a lengthy list of publicly accessible documents that Councils must keep available for physical inspection and purchase (list hyperlinked for convenience). The Bill provides that planning authorities can give a copy of the document to any person requesting, rather than keeping the documents physically available for inspection to ensure public access to information is not compromised.
The most recent notice issued by the Minister provided for a continuation of the ‘applicable event’ status for the COVID-19 public health emergency through to 30 September 2021 inclusive. See Applicable Event Notice Made Under the Planning Act 2016: COVID-19 Applicable Event 1/2021 (Extension Notice), 26 June 2021, https://dsdmipprd.blob.core.windows.net/general/applicable-event-extension-notice-29-06-2021.pdf