Local planning power may be handed back to Cairns authorities
MAYOR Bob Manning has thrown the council's support behind the Newman Government's bid to relax planning laws in the Far North, despite concern that urban sprawl could threaten vast tracts of protected land.
The FNQ Regional Plan marks out a clear area for urban development, and most proposals to build outside that small patch are referred to the State Government instead of the local council.
But Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney intends to repeal that process and let local councils have the ultimate say on development applications in their areas, without interference from the State Government.
Cr Manning has formally supported the move, saying it rightly returns power to local councils, who are elected by communities to make tough decisions about what should be built and where.
"Local governments should rise or die by their decisions," Cr Manning said, quoting Local Government Minister David Crisafulli.
"I know it puts a little bit more responsibility back on local governments, but after all, that’s why you're elected."
He said the changes would cut red tape and could open the door for greater development.
Division 10 councillor Julia Leu objected to Cr Manning giving CRC’s support to the proposed changes without canvassing other councillors’ opinions.
She said the sweeping nature of the changes meant the council’s stance on the matter deserved more robust
"There's quite a concern that environmental, social and community considerations certainly would be very much on the back foot (under the changes)," she told councillors at yesterday's ordinary meeting.
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Take the power back: Mayor Bob Manning has thrown the council's support behind the Newman Government's bid to relax planning laws in the Far North, despite the threat of urban sprawl.