Property Council blast decision over Halls Creek

THE Property Council of Australia has launched an extraordinary attack on Sunshine Coast Council, saying its Halls Creek decision would have flow-on effects on housing supply and affordability across south-east Queensland for years to come.

Queensland executive director Kathy Mac Dermott said yesterday that council's refusal to amend its planning scheme in line with State Government recommendations showed its lack of accountability.

"Over the next decade, south-east Queensland will need to provide for 24,000 new dwellings per annum - almost double the number of dwellings delivered over the previous decade,'' she said.

"Unless local governments are held to account in delivering on State Government initiatives, we will be unable to keep pace with our projected population growth.

"The Queensland Government has actively worked to return power to local governments over the past two years. However, without matching this empowerment with accountability, we will continue to see councils pandering to minority voices and making decisions that will inhibit the ability of their region to provide for current and future populations.

"This is about more than just development - it is about laying the economic foundations necessary for our communities to prosper."

The council voted last week to reject government pressure to include for potential urban development a 1400ha parcel of land owned by Stockland south of Caloundra South and adjacent to Pumicestone Passage.

The Mayor, his deputy and senior staff will meet Planning Minister Jeff Seeney in Brisbane tomorrow to re-state the case that development south of the 50,000 population Caloundra South, also owned by Stockland, should be the end of the line.

Council says further southward development would threaten the environmentally sensitive Pumicestone Passage and destroy the inter-urban break separating this region from Caboolture.

Mr Seeney signed off on the region's planning scheme but insisted that Halls Creek be retained as a potential future development site.

Council's decision not to follow that direction leaves Mr Seeney with the choice of accepting the decision or simply overriding it and signing off on the document as he sees fit.

"Some councils have recognised the flow-on benefits development brings to a region, and the role a local government can play in attracting investment that will deliver benefits such as jobs, increased rates revenue, diverse housing, and new community facilities," Ms Mac Dermott said.

"Other local governments have not been as willing to step up and take accountability for their actions. The decisions made by these councils threaten to undermine the work being done by other levels of government.''

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