FCRC: Councillor David Lewis. Photo: Stuart Fast
FCRC: Councillor David Lewis. Photo: Stuart Fast

Council commits to reducing red tape to help COVID recovery

RED tape has been reduced after the Fraser Coast Regional Council adopted new measures to simplify its planning process as part of the state's economic recovery from COVID-19.

Cr David Lewis said the Queensland Government's economic support initiative guidelines aim to cut down application costs and the time needed to process applications with councils now able to opt in to the changes.

"The purpose of the changes are to streamline planning requirements for low risk development in particular planning zones," he said.

"Our planning scheme already includes many of the new guidelines, which shows that the region is already in a strong position for businesses to recover quickly from the impacts of COVID-19."

Glen Winney, president of the Fraser Coast Property Industry Association, said the changes were a positive move.

"I believe it is good the council has opted into the state's amendments and adopted these changes," he said.

"Any assistance to business at the moment is very well received and will help new businesses set up.

"The applications they are referring to are only low risk uses, so streamlining the paperwork wont have any negative effect on the community but will help stimulate the economy.

"This will be good for the tourism and hospitality sector because it relates to retail shops and cafes etc.

"Overall we congratulate council for opting into this policy change."

The economic support initiatives:

Remove unnecessary barriers for certain low risk uses;

provide incentives and certainty to ensure businesses can restart or establish where appropriate, and encourages investment in the Fraser Coast region.

"The faster we can get businesses operating, the faster we can get people into jobs and the economy firing again," Cr Lewis said.

One of the changes is that a low level type application is required, instead of a 'high level' type application for an agricultural supplies store in the rural zone.

"Another change is that a planning approval will not be needed for a change in tenancy within an existing building if the new business was expected to be operating in that zone and only minor building work will occur," Cr Lewis said.

"That means, for example, if a shop wanted to set up in a former newsagency in one of the tourism nodes such as Scarness, Torquay or Urangan, there would be no need for a development application.

"By making the planning process easier, council are effectively reducing red tape and helping businesses to get up and running quicker."