Sand mine furore prompts community consultation rules review

DEPUTY Premier Jackie Trad has confirmed the State Government is investigating community consultation processes associated with development applications.

A spokeswoman for Ms Trad, who is also the Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, said guidelines were being considered to assist proponents and assessment managers work out the best way to consult with local communities.

"It is the responsibility of the applicant to undertake statutory public notification requirements," she said.

"Statutory public notification is only required for development applications that are deemed 'impact assessable' through a local government planning scheme."

The spokeswoman said many local governments opted to publish development application material on their websites, and highlighted the State Government's reform commitments to ensure effective public engagement in the planning frameworks and preserving the rights of communities to have their say.

The comments came as Forest Glen residents raised issues with what they perceived to be a lack of information about a proposed sand mine development off Maroochydore Rd, Eudlo Flats Rd and Malones Rd.

A spokeswoman, on behalf of the proponents of the sand mine, Maroochydore Sands Pty Ltd, said the company had implemented a wide range of consultation processes that were above and beyond the statutory requirements.

"Maroochydore Sands implemented a range of voluntary consultation outside the legal requirements and before it would usually occur," she said.

"Information was provided prior to the development application being lodged with Sunshine Coast Council and continuously since then.

"Politicians and local residents' associations were regularly briefed throughout the process. Experience shows that this is an effective mechanism to inform people who may be interested in proposals for their local area.

"The groups can disseminate the information throughout their networks."

The spokeswoman said Kunda Park Chamber of Commerce, Mons Progress Association and Diddillibah Progress Association had all been alerted to the proposal, provided with a free-call number and invited to an information session on May 9 at Diddillibah Hall.

A further session was held at Diddillibah's Waterfront Hotel, she said.

"All groups were emailed before the start of the statutory public notification comment period to let them know it was due to commence and when it would finish, in case they wanted to make submissions," she said.

An extra five days had been granted to ensure sufficient submission time.



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