The big freeze on approvals lifted

THE Central Highlands council has set a local government benchmark with ministerial approval received to incorporate a 2010-11 floodplain hazard overlay map into future town planning decisions.

Strategic planning manager Alexis Aylward said it was a Queensland-first, and the July 4 freeze on development applications on flood-prone or at risk land in Emerald would now be lifted, with some exceptions.

The contoured map shows specific flood levels for residential, commercial and industrial premises affected by the 2010/11 town flood.

New developments in those areas will now have to have a flood level 600mm above the floodline.

Ms Aylward said the map was compiled with data from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, which had been "updated and improved".

"This initiative will ensure communities will be more resilient in the face of future flood events and give confidence to those undertaking new development in a flood prone area," she said.

The planning department will now go ahead assessing applications which have been deferred since councillors voted to wait on the results of two commissioned flood studies tabled this week.

The exceptions are where an applicant has provided a flood study prepared by a hydrologist or qualified professional demonstrating the impact of the 2010-11 event on the proposed development, where low risk development is proposed, or where the applicant applied for a negotiated decision or permissible change in relation to an existing approval.

The Floodplain Assessment Overlay Code will be incorporated into the planning schemes for the four former shires.

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