Newman hands back planning powers

THE level of government "closest to the people" would be given more power to control development in their communities under a new level of partnership with the State Government, the Queensland Premier has promised.

Premier Campbell Newman handed back a number of key planning powers to the Brisbane City Council on Friday and reiterated their close partnership.

He assured the rest of Queensland they would receive the same treatment.

"This approach will be coming to Townsville, Cairns, the Gold Coast, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Ipswich and Logan - we will be empowering local government," he said.

"There will be the same genuine, fair-dinkum commitment to try and establish a really good working relationship and partnership for Queensland and the people in local communities.

"Since the local government elections both Minister for Local Government David Crisafulli and myself have spoken to many mayors, particularly in large regional cities, about going forward.

"...I have indicated to all of them they can expect a great new partnership with the state government giving them the tools and the authority to take their communities forward.

"They (need to) do that in a responsible way and particularly in tough economic times, make sure they fast track appropriate and sensible development for the benefit of all people in Queensland."

The findings of the flood commission of inquiry into the January 2011 deluge looked at criticisms from residents and businesses who claimed inadequate local government planning decisions left them ignorant to flood risks.

Mr Newman defended the move to shift power into the hands of councils and said people should not "assume" local government did the wrong thing.

"It's the job of State Government to set clear guidelines for planning policy for councils to then follow," he said.

"Don't assume local government have done the wrong thing. Local government can do the right thing, they need the resources and they need to back up the state government and not to belted, bullied and bashed up."

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