The Queensland Government has introduced legislation before State Parliament that aims to provide clearer definitions and regulations surrounding the construction of flood levees.

State Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, said the Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 addressed key concerns of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry.

“The Commission of Inquiry highlighted inconsistencies and confusion over who should approve and regulate the construction of levees,” Mr Cripps said.

“The Commission’s final report included five recommendations including one proposing the State Government work with local councils to formulate a definition of ‘levee’ and determine the most appropriate regulatory regime under the Sustainable Planning Act to manage levees.”

Mr Cripps said the Bill also took the first step in the development of the legislative framework under the Water Act for a consistent approach to regulate the construction of new levees.

“It will establish the definition of a levee, make provision for levees that are made “assessable development” under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, and pave the way for the development of a code setting out technical details for assessment of levees after public consultation through a Regulatory Impact Statement process to be launched later this year.”

Mr Cripps said other important aspects of the Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 included:

  • amending the Water Act 2000 to extend the stated period of all water licences until 30 June 2111
  • amending the provisions relating to the State Rural Leasehold Land Strategy to increase the applicable land area threshold to 1,000 hectares or more for new leases and lease renewals under the Land Act 1994
  • streamlining the process for conversion of unutilised petroleum wells to water supply bores
  • providing flexibility in prioritising the review and replacement of water resource plans
  • Removing the need for irrigators to prepare Land and Water Management Plans, yet retaining area-wide or catchment-wide Water Use Plans.