Townsville City Council has called for changes to the Queensland Planning Act to give local governments more powers to evaluate slab-on-ground developments in high flood risk areas.

Councillors voted at yesterday’s Ordinary Meeting of Council to take a motion to the next LGAQ Annual Conference to lobby the Queensland Government to introduce the change.

Mayor Jenny Hill said the Planning Act only required the finished floor level of new developments to be above flood height in these high-risk areas. “The common practice has been to build up the finished floor level with a sand pad and concrete slab, which is worsening the impacts from flooding events and the way flood waters are displaced,” Cr Hill said. “Local governments need more power to determine what type of development can happen in these high flood risk areas. That could mean someone wanting to build in one of these areas may need to put their house on stumps instead of a built-up slab to allow flood water to go under the house. Our city is expected to grow and reach more than 300,000 residents by the year 2050, and more houses will need to be built to accommodate the demand. If we continue to allow slab-on-ground developments to happen in these flood risk areas then it could lead to further displacing of flood waters to impact additional land and properties.”

Deputy Mayor Mark Molachino said there is also a need for the state government to incentivise flood-resilient development. “The impacts of flooding are being increasingly felt across Queensland, and it’s predicted Townsville will experience increasing cases of extreme weather events. If something isn’t done to mitigate the impact these disasters have on properties then it will undermine efforts to increase housing supply in the region. We also call for the Queensland Government to expand the Resilient Homes Fund to include key regional cities like Townsville to encourage appropriate development.”

Council will take the motion to the LGAQ Annual Conference in October.