Good urban design and planning is essential for creating more liveable urban areas while reducing impacts on the environment.
Queensland has a vast land area across a wide variety of climate zones and soil types. By better understanding these, we can develop effective planning and management practices which are essential to achieving long-term sustainability and prosperity.
An Introduction to Liveability in the Queensland State of the Environment Report
Management responses are the actions or initiatives undertaken to protect, maintain and restore environmental assets, as well as those that prevent, mitigate or adapt to changes in the environment. They are generally developed in reaction to the observed or anticipated pressures and impacts, or the state of the environment. They act in a multitude of ways, either individually or, more often, in concert with one another to bring about environmental change.
Applicable management responses related to liveability include:
The Planning Act 2016 (the Act) provides the legislative framework for the development and implementation of planning instruments. Planning instruments set out policies for planning and development assessment, and include State Planning Instruments, such as the State Planning Policy (SPP) and regional plans, which are made to protect or give effect to state interests, such as housing supply and diversity.
Regional plans generally advance the interests of the SPP through providing a spatial context, defining key outcomes and establishing strategies, and directions to achieve these outcomes in response to each region’s unique values.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads has developed a Transport Coordination Plan in accordance with the requirements of the Transport Planning and Coordination Act 1994. The Transport Coordination Plan provides a strategic framework for the planning and management of transport resources in Queensland over a 10 year time frame. The updated plan also includes transport key performance indicators to monitor progress towards these objectives, along with decision making principles and criteria for spending on transport.
Policy and Programs
The transport industry is transforming at a rapid rate—new technologies, ideas and partnerships are driving change, and intelligent transport systems are already a major factor in the future of transport technologies. The Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative (CAVI) will be delivered by the Department of Transport and Main Roads to help prepare for the arrival of vehicles with both cooperative and automated technologies that may produce safety, mobility and environmental benefits on Queensland roads.
CAVI will lay the technical foundations for the next generation of smart transport infrastructure and consists of 3 primary components:
- The Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot – the largest on-road testing trial in Australia of connected vehicles and infrastructure.
- Connected and Highly Automated Driving (CHAD) Pilot – which includes researching the safety and infrastructure impacts of connected and highly automated vehicles, along with public demonstrations and displays.
- Vulnerable road user pilot – a project looking at how new technology applications can benefit vulnerable road user safety including pedestrians, motorcycle riders and bicycle riders.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads produces an annual plan that documents the future improvements to the reliability and efficiency of transport infrastructure. The Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP) details the transport and road projects that the Queensland Government plans to deliver over the next 4 years to meet the infrastructure needs of this rapidly growing state.
Programs that will have a particularly significant impact on freight and commuter efficiency are:
- Gateway Motorway Upgrade South (GUS) - Stage 2A - The $50 million Stage 2 works include widening of Mount Gravatt-Capalaba Road from Broadwater Road to Gardner/Mount Petrie Roads in the Wishart/Mackenzie areas of Brisbane, construction of a new bridge over Bulimba Creek for westbound traffic and improved shared pedestrian and cyclist connections.
- Bruce Highway Upgrade: Cooroy to Curra (C2C) - Traveston Road - Keefton Road - Curra (Section C) - The $384 million ($76.84m State Government and $307.4m Federal Government) Section C delivered a new 10.5km 4-lane divided highway between Traveston and Woondum. The existing southern Bruce Highway access was also upgraded as an alternative route for local road users travelling between Traveston and Gympie.
- Gold Coast Light Rail - Stage 2 Helensvale Station Integration - A PPP arrangement between State Government ($270m), Federal Government ($95m), the City of Gold Coast ($55m) and GoldLinkQ. Stage 2 connects the existing light rail system at Southport to heavy rail at the Helensvale station. The 7.3km route runs from Helensvale heavy rail station adjacent to the Gold Coast Line, then adjacent to the Smith Street Motorway to connect with Stage 1 at the Gold Coast University Hospital light rail station.
- Gateway Motorway: Gateway Upgrade North (GUN) - Nudgee Road - Bruce Highway - The jointly funded project between Federal ($914.18m) and State Government ($228.54) includes upgrade of the Gateway Motorway from 4 to 6 lanes between Nudgee and Deagon, with additional pavement and safety works through to Bracken Ridge.
- New Generation Rollingstock - Statewide (NGR) - The rail stabling program is part of the broader New General Rollingstock project that will see 75 new suburban 6-car trains added to the South East Queensland City network, a 30% increase of the current fleet. To accommodate this expansion of the city network fleet and improve operational efficiencies, Queensland Rail requires a number of new stabling facilities throughout South East Queensland.
- Peak Downs Highway Safety Package - Eton Range Realignment Proposal (51.4 - 52.9km) - The $189.26m project involves widening from 2 to 4 lanes, a partial realignment of the existing range crossing, a split carriageway to separate traffic and reduction in grade. The works include:
- safety measures to reduce speeds on the steep descent
- methods to reduce driving demands on heavy vehicle operators
- process to keep the Peak Downs Highway open during construction.
- Bruce Highway Upgrade: Cattle Creek Road - Frances Creek Upgrade - The $118.9m project is jointly funded by Federal ($95.m) and State (23.8m) government involved widening 5.8km of road and bridge infrastructure, south of Ingham. It includes construction of 2 new bridges, raising the highway to improve flood immunity, upgrading several rural intersections to safer configuration, and upgrading the Frances Creek rest area.
- Bruce Highway Upgrade: Townsville Ring Road - Stage 4 - Construction of a new 2 Lane (Bohle Plains) section of The Ring Road from Shaw Road to Mt Low Parkway, known as The Ring Road Section 4 (TRR4) - Efficiency, congestion and safety project.
- Bruce Highway Upgrade: Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade - Stage 1 - 4-laning of Bruce Highway on northern approach to Rockhampton from Rockhampton Yeppoon Road to Boundary Road. 1.75km section includes new bridge over Limestone Creek.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads introduced QLDTraffic, the public’s go-to source for traffic and travel information across Queensland. The new website and mobile app, QLDTraffic gives you the latest news about road incidents and conditions, as well as consolidated information for road impacts due to flooding, fire and other critical events, right at your fingertips, and provides customers with journey planning and an interactive map detailing where incidents are on Queensland roads.
The Land Condition Assessment Tool (LCAT) has been developed to support sustainable land management initiatives and programs. A simple, science-based assessment framework provides a means of collecting a standard dataset of land condition and the determination of more consistent results. The LCAT considers grazing land management and ecological principles to determine the current state of the land, rather than its capability, by evaluating key indicators of long-term land condition.
Data and results will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of projects and programs which aim to improve land condition, productivity and sustainability; efforts to reduce soil erosion; the provision of monitoring and decision support information to land managers, and to validate and improve products and services derived from remote sensing and modelling which are used for decision support.
Local government planning schemes give local regulatory and policy effect to state and regional planning and local interests, such as appropriate planning and development outcomes and infrastructure needs. Planning schemes manage housing density, with the zoning of land identifying the most acceptable locations for a range of densities in the local government area.
Planning schemes also describe the suitability and outline the permissibility of different dwelling types and densities through performance outcomes and the level of assessment of each use. For example, a high-rise building would be identified as inappropriate and have a higher level of assessment and thus a more rigorous set of requirements to meet if it were proposed in an area that had been determined suitable for low-rise development. The acceptability of different lot sizes is also regulated in a similar way.
Urban and economic development requires efficient and integrated transport systems to ensure they operate efficiently. Also, transport systems need to be planned and provided such that impacts on the environment are minimised.
The most efficient way to achieve delivery of the above is to identify and protect the required multi-modal transport corridors before development (or significant redevelopment) occurs across these corridors. The Queensland Government continues to identify and preserve future corridors where appropriate and facilitate potential future development. Both the overall network and corridor strategies need to be refined to ensure strategic alignment, integration and consistency.
The Queensland Government is committed to developing an attractive, efficient and connected public transport system to support social and economic development, urban regeneration and productivity. A connected network will spread the benefits of public transport. The integration of our existing and future bus and rail networks in conjunction with new and emerging technologies will be important to provide an efficient public transport system.
SEQ's rail network is undergoing a transformation with New Generation Rollingstock in service, infrastructure upgrades, a new European Train Control System (ETCS) signalling system and Cross River Rail (CRR) delivery underway. CRR will unlock a key bottleneck at the core of SEQ's transport network by allowing trains to run more frequently which enables a significant increase to SEQ's rail network capacity. CRR will provide a basis for future expansion of the network in order to service SEQ's growing population and economy.
A number of current and committed projects and initiatives will contribute to a more efficient and sustainable public transport system. These include the following:
- Cross River Rail (CRR) - Revolutionising rail operations through the heart of the Brisbane CBD, CRR will provide additional rail access, capacity, efficiency and reliability to meet future population and employment growth in South East Queensland.
- New rail signalling system - The European Train Control System (ETCS) level 2 will improve the rail network’s signalling system in SEQ such that trains can travel closer together on critical sections of the network. This will increase the capacity, safety and reliability of the passenger rail system.
- New generation rolling stock - The introduction of 75 new passenger trains on the city train network will renew the aging fleet, increase train reliability and increase passenger capacity and comfort.
- Gold Coast light rail - The continued rollout of a light rail network on the Gold Coast will provide continuous connection between Coolangatta and Helensvale. To date, 20kms of light rail track have been constructed, with the latest stage connecting to Helensvale. The third and final stage is currently being investigated.
- New Gold Coast rail stations - The Queensland Government will undertake the detailed planning and design for 3 new rail stations at Pimpama, Helensvale North and Worongary/Merrimac.
QDesign represents the Queensland Government’s first urban design policy document, establishing 9 priority principles to guide the design, development and delivery of major infrastructure and urban design projects across Queensland to create liveable, functional, sustainable places.
QDesign supports already established planning policies including the State Planning Policy 2017, Shaping SEQ - South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017 and the North Queensland Regional Plan.
Queensland AgTrends includes the latest economic forecasts and trends in Queensland agricultural, fisheries and forestry production.
The report provides gross value of production forecasts for each of Queensland's major primary industry commodities, as well as forecasts for first-round processing activities. The main edition of Queensland AgTrends contains initial forecasts for the most recent financial year and is published annually.
These forecasts are then reviewed during the year. Changes to the initial forecasts are reported 6 months later in the subsequent edition of AgTrends update.
The Queensland Cycling Strategy was released during 2017 and details the direction for cycling in Queensland over the next 10 years. The Strategy sets the direction for encouraging more cycling, more often throughout Queensland. It is accompanied by an action plan and Queensland State of Cycling Report, which will be updated every 2 years to help us prioritise our efforts and respond to changes that impact cycling in Queensland.
Queensland's freight system supported an estimated 178 billion tonne-kilometres of freight services in 2018–19. Prior to COVID-19 this task was projected to grow by around 15% to more than 205 billion tonne-kilometres and the amount of freight carried was estimated to increase by approximately 25% to around 1.25 billion tonnes by 2028–29.
In 2019, the Department of Transport and Main Roads released the Queensland Freight Strategy — Advancing Freight in Queensland (the Strategy). The Strategy sets a shared vision for the state’s freight system, outlining a series of commitments that will guide policy, planning and investment decision making over the next ten years to give customers greater choice and support economic growth.
The Strategy will address our growing freight task in a safe, equitable and collaborative way. It will be implemented through the rolling 2-year Queensland Freight Action Plan that outlines how government and stakeholders are ensuring the freight system continues to keep pace with new technologies and economic conditions.
The Queensland Soil Monitoring (QSM) program creates a baseline soil condition dataset. Monitoring soil to detect changes and trends in condition over time informs the effectiveness of land management policies and practices. The QSM program has sites across several major land uses, bioregions and climates: more locations are planned in the future.
The Queensland Transport Strategy is a future-focused, whole-of-system transport strategy which will shape Queensland’s transport system over the next 30 years. This Strategy is the culmination of years of research, studies and consultation and has been designed to maximise the benefits of current and emerging trends and technologies for Queensland households, businesses and the wider community.
Setting a high-level policy platform, the Strategy helps the Department of Transport and Main Roads to realise its vision of creating a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone.
The Queensland Walking Strategy 2019–2029 coordinates and integrates the state’s approach to walking so communities can be made better for people of all ages and abilities. The strategy recognises the critical role that walking plays as part of a single integrated transport system accessible to everyone and as part of a healthy, active lifestyle for all Queenslanders.
In late 2017, the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) implemented 'Fairer Fares' across the South East Queensland (SEQ) transport network. Changes included:
- reducing zones from 23 smaller zones to eight wider zones, making local travel more affordable
- reducing fares for all zones
- extending the weekday morning off-peak period to 6am
- introducing free weekend travel for children aged 5 to 14 years travelling on a child go card
- replacing the ‘9 and free’ incentive with ‘8 paid journeys and 50% off subsequent journeys per week’.
50% concession fares were also introduced for Job Seekers and Asylum Seekers, with Veterans concessions extended to include both gold and white Veteran Card holders.
Since its introduction, the Queensland Governments Fairer Fares package has delivered more than $232 million in savings to SEQ commuters and families.
The Queensland Government has released regional plans covering the whole the state. Regional plans identify matters that are important and specific to each region in Queensland, and support growth and development in regions while protecting and contextualising state interests in each region. Regional plans are made through collaboration with local governments, residents, key industry groups and the wider community. Regional plans must also be considered by local governments in a region when preparing local planning schemes.
Regional plans currently exist for the following regions:
- Cape York
- Central Queensland
- Central West
- Darling Downs
- Far North Queensland
- The Gulf
- Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday
- Maranoa–Balonne (noting that this covers part of the Darling Downs region)
- North Queensland
- North West
- South East Queensland
- South West
- Wide Bay Burnett.
Regional Transport Plans are structured around 3 to 4 priorities which express the regional goals with a transport system focus. All Regional Transport Plans include a liveability or community focused priority. Each priority includes a number of planning actions that are the short-term and medium/long-term focus for the region to meet transport objectives and priorities.
Rail is already an essential component of South East Queensland's (SEQ) multi-modal transport system. By 2041, the region is forecast to reach almost 5.3 million people and rail is at the heart of the vision outlined in ShapingSEQ.
Connections between SEQ’s growing population centres is important as residents and visitors travel throughout the region to access employment, essential services and leisure activities. More people travelling longer distances will place increasing pressure on the transport system.
Department of Transport and Main Roads is planning to deliver 2 simple service tiers to deliver consistency, connectivity, legibility and an improved customer experience, including:
- Faster, more reliable, express services for customers travelling longer distances from the Gold Coast, Caboolture/Sunshine Coast and Ipswich.
- Suburban turn up and go services providing frequent and flexible connections for customers in inner areas, knowing there is a train at their local station at least every 15 minutes.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) officially launched Australia's State of the Forests Report 2018 in February 2019.
The report is the fifth in a series of national 5-yearly reports on Australia’s forests, prepared in partnership between Commonwealth, state, and territory governments. This latest report covers the period from 2011 to 2016, with longer term trends where possible.
The State of the Forests Report provides information about all Australia’s public and private forests under all management arrangements, for both native forest and plantations. It presents the full range of social, economic, and environmental values of these forests, using an international framework of criteria and indicators developed under the Montreal Process.
The SPP outlines the guiding principles and state interests that underpin the delivery of local and regional plans. In making a regional plan, the Planning Minister must consider which state interests apply in a region and how these should be given appropriate effect in that region.
The Minister for Transport and Main Roads released The Future is Electric: Queensland’s Electric Vehicle Strategy (EV Strategy) on 4 October 2017. The EV Strategy is the beginning of a new era in transport fuel sources that will also include bio-fuels and alternative new technologies such as hydrogen to support environmentally-friendly transport options, particularly from renewable energy.
The EV Strategy is positioning Queensland for an increase in electric vehicles. It outlines 16 cost-effective initiatives to empower consumers, enable supporting infrastructure, explore cost-effective support programs and envisage future government actions.
One of the key actions from the EV Strategy is the Queensland Electric Super Highway (QESH), a series of 18 fast charging stations from Coolangatta north to Cairns and Brisbane west to Toowoomba, completed in 2018 Planning for phase 2 of the QESH is well underway, with construction due for completion by end 2020.