The Queensland Government is implementing a statewide regulatory framework to manage the construction or modification of levee banks. This will ensure levee bank design and construction addresses potential impacts on neighbouring properties, the community and the catchment as a whole.
The new framework is scheduled to commence in May 2014 and 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.
A levee bank is defined as an artificial embankment or structure which prevents or reduces the flow of overland flow water onto or from land. Further detail on the definition of a levee bank, including what is or what is not considered to be a levee bank for the purpose of this framework can be found in the Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013.
The Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act, passed by Parliament in May 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 provided a clear definition of a levee bank and included transitional arrangements which would apply when the new framework commences.
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 levee bank applications. The guidelines will support the code and provide the assessment manager and levee proponents with guidance on meeting the code.
The Regulation of Levees in Queensland: Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (PDF, 1.7MB), which sets out the framework, was finalised in early February 2014. Please note that this PDF is not fully accessible. If you require an accessible version please contact us.
As outlined in the Decision Regulatory Impact Statement, local councils will be the assessment manager for levee applications. The State Government will be a referral agency for levees of state interest.
This approach will allow councils to decide how they wish to implement this framework and will enable them to make decisions about levees based on their vision for their local government area and their specific planning and management needs.
The Queensland Government will work with councils to assist them in undertaking this role and to ensure they understand the implications of the framework, and their requirements under it.
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.
Feedback on the draft assessment code is now closed. All feedback will be considered when preparing the final assessment code.