Planning for hazardous industrial activities in Queensland

15 Nov 1992

In 1991, the Queensland Government invited the Queensland Division of the Australian Institute of Urban Studies to review the current land-use planning procedures concerned with hazardous industries, and to consider how they could be improved. The Institute commissioned the authors to carry out the investigation, and this paper is drawn from their report. (Milburn and Cameron 1992). The paper outlines the systems used in Queensland, and suggests a possible approach to land-use planning for haz¬ ardous establishments that incorporates the ideas of total risk management. The approach is generic in nature, and draws from experience and practice within Australia and overseas.

In regional economic development, the essential aim of the State Government is to reduce regional disparities and increase regional employment op¬ portunities. These activities bridge the economic development initiatives at state and local levels. At the local level, such initiatives often span sev¬ eral local communities.
Those who plan, develop, use and regulate land for industrial purposes, are becoming increas¬ ingly aware of particular problems associated with establishments that use, store or produce hazardous substances. In these types of operations, events occurring on-site may have significant off-site impacts. Such impacts can impinge on regional development if they occur over areas wider than just a single municipality.

There is a growing community awareness of the implications of having hazardous establishments close to urban areas. This has brought pressure to bear on legislators, local authorities and operators to improve the current system of controls. In par¬ ticular, the handling of applications to develop hazardous industry is the prime target of the pres¬ sure for change.

Dealing with development applications is an integral part of regional economic development. The question of land-use safety planning for hazardous establishments is, therefore, of direct relevance to regional practitioners, particularly where they may become involved in the siting of such facilities, or in the presentation of development proposals to local authorities. Therefore, it is desirable to integrate the regional process with the risk management process.

The authors have based the approach to their task around a risk management policy that attempts to integrate competing aspects. The approach recognises the importance of hazard analysis methods and quantified risk assessment as tools in the total risk management framework.

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