January 31, 2020

Planning & Environment | QLD

Have you actually heard of someone being paid compensation under the Planning Act 2016 (Qld)?

If not, that is unsurprising - it is a tricky regime with complex qualifying requirements.

Financial compensation is a common remedy in Queensland’s legal system. An injured person may claim compensation for their injuries under various schemes, a victim of crime may be entitled to compensation from the State, and owners of compulsorily acquired land may claim compensation from a resuming authority.

Where compensation rights are established under statute, the common question is whether a person ‘qualifies’ to claim. The relevant statute usually prescribes mandatory criteria that must be satisfied in order to make a claim.

The Planning Act, like its predecessors, contains a compensation regime which enables owners of premises injuriously affected by an ‘adverse planning change’ to make a claim for compensation from the local government responsible for the change. 

Whilst this might seem familiar to those who remember the previous legislation, surprisingly, the Planning Act may disqualify more owners from claiming compensation than any previous planning regime. As always, the devil is in the detail, and the Planning Act certainly has some tricky details which can quickly disqualify an owner from an entitlement to claim compensation. These details include timing imperatives and a multi-step process of applications being made and decided in particular ways. But most importantly, the qualifying planning change scenarios are strictly limited.

It is easy to be tricked or confused by the process or qualification requirements.  This could result in an owner throwing money at applications which are doomed to fail and where they have no prospects of compensation being paid. 

Before assuming that a planning change will give rise to a claim entitlement, you should seek specialist legal advice to confirm whether the relevant circumstances will qualify you for compensation under the Planning Act.