The Queensland Government is implementing a statewide regulatory framework to manage the construction or modification of levee banks following the recommendations of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry which was established following the floods of 2010/2011. This regulatory framework will ensure levee bank design and construction addresses potential impacts on neighbouring properties, the community and the catchment as a whole.
The Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 was the first step in developing the legislative framework for regulating levee bank construction and modification under the Water Act 2000. As well as making new levee banks an 'assessable development' it provides a clear definition of a levee bank and transitional arrangements which will apply when the new framework commences. The Regulation of Levees in Queensland: Decision Regulatory Impact Statement, which sets out the framework, was finalised in early February 2014. Consultation on the Regulatory Impact Statement on the Regulation of Levees in Queensland is available on the DNRM website http://www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/water/catchments-planning/levees.
What this means for levee bank construction & modification proposals
The new framework means that the construction of a new levee bank or the modification of an existing one will be an 'assessable development' under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. The new regulatory provisions will not apply to existing levee banks, as these are not documented, and were constructed in accordance with the existing legislation at the time. However, the regulations will apply to proposals to modify an existing levee bank. Local Councils will be the assessment managers for levee applications, with the State Government as a referral agency for levees of state interest.
Stakeholders involved in assessments
The regulatory framework will allow Councils to decide how they wish to implement the framework and enable them to make decisions about levees based on their vision for their local government area and their specific planning and management needs. Assessment tools, including the code and guidelines to support the regulatory framework are currently under development in consultation with Queensland Government departments, local councils and stakeholder groups. The code will provide the criteria against which the assessment manager will assess applications. The guidelines will support the code and provide the assessment manager and levee proponents with guidance on meeting the code. The Queensland Government will work with councils to ensure that the implications and requirements of the framework are understood.
Categories of assessment
Definition: A levee that has no off-property impact
Level of assessment: Self-assessment
Definition: A levee that has an off-property impact and for which the affected population is less than 3
Level of assessment: Code assessment
Assessor: Local Government
Definition: A levee that has an off-property impact and for which the affected population is at least 3
Level of assessment: Impact assessment
Assessor: Local government with Queensland Government as referral agency
For further information about the regulation of levee banks, please either refer to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines website at www.dnrm.qld.gov.au, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 13 74 68 business hours.