Region ‘open for business’

A TOWN plan has been designed to create a strategic direction for the whole region and the emphasis is on making economic development easier.

It is the first planning scheme for the whole South Burnett since the amalgamation of Kingaroy, Murgon, Wondai and Nanango shires in 2008.

Deputy Mayor and portfolio representative for finance and town planning Keith Campbell said the plan would make it easier for people to come and set up businesses in the region.

"I think we do want to create the image that the South Burnett is open for business as far as all manner of opportunities are concerned," he said.

"There are a lot of people and businesses out there who are crying out for something to come into the area to kickstart the economy again, because it has been in the doldrums for a little while."

General manager of planning and environment Stan Taylor said the new town plan aimed to reduce red tape by removing requirements for planning applications where possible.

"We've got the same zonings in place but it's the way in which we've looked at the development standards inside (that has changed)," he said.

"If we've got it zoned residential and you're putting in a house we've already declared it for a house.

"We don't need to have a code assessable application for a house, we let you go to the next stage which is building.

"The same with industrial use, if you meet the code in there then you don't need to come back with an application."

Special zones will be put in place for major employers like Swickers and the Wondai Sawmill to allow them to expand without a planning permit.

Piggeries will no longer need to complete planning applications provided they are more than 2km from town, and prime agricultural land will not be able to be subdivided below 100ha.

The plan was put to council last week before being sent to the State Government for ratification.

Community consultation will be held on the issue early next year.