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Are amendments to planning regulations the pathway to greater housing affordability and supply?


(Image above: Caggara House by Arkhefield for Brisbane Housing Company)

Following last week’s Housing Summit, the State Government has announced two initiatives to address the housing affordability and supply challenges –

  1. Amendments to the Planning Regulation 2017 that allow the use of the Ministerial Infrastructure Designation (MID) pathway for development of social and affordable housing by a community housing provider or under a State funded program.
  2. A $1 billion increase to the Housing Investment Fund to create further opportunities for Government incentives to social and affordable housing

Planning Regulation Amendment

The amendment to the Regulations was adopted on 21 October and removes the requirement for a development application for social and affordable housing by a community housing provider or under a State funded program to be lodged and assessed by local governments. A developer can now partner with a community housing provider and use the infrastructure designation pathway for social or affordable housing development. Once designated, no further planning approvals are required. Approval to carry out building work and operational works are still required.

Key opportunities include:

  • A faster assessment process – a higher level principle-based assessment process rather than a prescriptive approach to planning scheme codes and policies. Land use planning assessment (including key aspects such as traffic, parking, stormwater, noise, ecology, amenity, and built form) is undertaken by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, with advice from other state agencies and technical experts taken into consideration. The Planning Minister then makes the decision on the project.
  • Public consultation is required, including engagement with surrounding properties, local businesses, and other key stakeholders.
  • Reduced risk – no risk of appeals, although there is also no applicant appeals
  • Cost – there is no application fee, nor do infrastructure charges apply to certain developments
  • Greater flexibility – the process does not approve a detailed plan, but rather a building envelope. This provides greater flexibility of design and siting going forward.
  • Once approved, the designation lasts for six years

Prelodgement Meetings are encouraged to discuss the project details and process. Wolter Consulting Group have recently completed a number of Infrastructure Designations Projects of varying scales.

For further information, see Infrastructure Designations Explained - The Key Benefits - Wolter Consulting Group

State Government Investment

Coupled with the removal of planning red-tape to fast-track approval through Infrastructure Designation, there are also increased opportunities for State Government incentives. The $2 billion HIF equates to delivering $130 million each year ongoing to create new housing stock. The HIF is the State Government initiative to provide investment in social and affordable housing through subsidies, one-off capital grants, and other incentives to encourage private partnership opportunities with Community Housing Providers to build or redevelop and operate housing solutions in Queensland.  The State Government has a target of 5,600 new social and affordable home commencements across Queensland by 30 June 2027.

Importantly, the housing solutions may include a mix of social housing, affordable housing, and homeless accommodation including mixed use developments and other allied services.

The HIF invitation for new Expressions of Interest is open. Updated documents and program conditions will be provided in coming months. All interested proponents are asked to complete the online pre-lodgement registration form for the EOI via Queensland Housing Investment Growth Initiative - Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy ( 

Separate from the current EOI process, the Government may release specified state sites for development. Parties who have registered their interest in developing a housing solution under the HIF will be notified if state sites are released.