Moreton Bay Planning Director survey reveals COVID-19 “state of play”

COVID-19 had resulted in rapid change in planning departments across the State.

Early analysis of interviews conducted by the Institute on 7 and 8 April 2020 with Planning Directors in both metropolitan and regional locations throughout the State shows planning teams are quickly moving to remote working and are cognisant of their critical role in saving industry jobs by getting on with core business on their side of the fence.

Moreton Bay Regional Council

Interviewee: David Corkill, Director of Planning

What changes have you made to your department to ensure business continuity?

  • The key objective has been to ensure continuity of operations, keeping things as business as usual as possible. Most staff working from home.
  • Council still providing the full suite of services and have put in place various workarounds such as around plan sealing to keep lots being produced etc
  • Inspectors still going successfully
  • Information on new arrangements available here

What has been the greatest challenge or obstacle you have run into?

  • Keeping things operational has been a substantial challenge particularly the logistics of keeping things going.
  • Ongoing, ensuring team leaders continue to successfully manage their working from home staff is a challenge.

What is the next change you think you will need to put in place to respond?

  • Getting the new incoming council up to speed as soon as possible is a priority.
  • The last council put in place a stimulus package, likely the next council will wish to revisit that plan and further initiatives will likely be looked at as we move to recovery phase.
  • We recognise that cash flow will be an issue for developers at this time so are mindful of this as a context to how assessment and appeal matters are managed.

How can the Institute be included in the development of your recovery plan?

  • The Institute will be important in testing ideas.
  • Open to ideas from the  branch and keen to be responsive and respond as we go along.
  • It would be desirable to achieve greater coordination around stimulus or other initiatives that local governments are undertaking for clarity and simplicity.
  • Also coordination of industry stakeholders input and local government initiatives by the Institute is desired.

Have you implemented any of these proposals?

Focussing resourcing on avoiding delays to plan sealing processes


Investing more resourcing in avoiding delays to existing Development Applications


Establishing a Low Risk Team to process


Pre-emptively establishing outsourcing arrangements or a pre-qualified suppliers panel for planning, engineering and other relevant professions

No but we have considered this as a potential strategy

Relaxing restrictions on on-site work work hours

Pending any State change to regulation

Providing a new home builder’s grant (like Rockhampton Regional Council)


Providing immediate offset refunds for LGIP trunk infrastructure