The Dispensary co-owner Damien Connors. Picture: Ashley Pillhofer
The Dispensary co-owner Damien Connors. Picture: Ashley Pillhofer

Mackay businesses welcome move to slash red tape

MACKAY business owners have backed a move to slash planning red tape in a bid to support the local economy post-COVID.

The State Government has unveiled a new strategy to cut red tape to help businesses bounce back and boost jobs.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said the proposed changes were designed to ease the economic burden for businesses across the state.

"The global coronavirus pandemic has impacted economies around the world and Queensland is no different," Mr Dick said.

"The planning law changes we've made over the past four months have led the nation, and as we continue delivering our Unite and Recover COVID economic plan, we'll keep looking for ways to make it easier for Queensland businesses to employ and thrive."

Mackay's NE Foods owner Damien Connors said the changes could help businesses like The Dispensary Coffee Kitchen Bar with any future planning hurdles.

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He also called on the State Government to consider scrapping fringe benefits tax.

"It's a great idea, I'm very supportive of it," Mr Connors said.

"Any assistance we can get in cutting red tape and helping enforce social distancing while allowing us to trade without increasing new cases can only be a benefit."

Intuition The Art of Hair owner Victoria Rushby said it had been a challenging past few months for her hair salon, which will soon move to a new location in North Mackay.

"Whatever the state can do is going to benefit every community, especially when it comes down to helping businesses keep everyone in a job," she said.

"I know when they dropped some restrictions for hairdressers, that made such a world of difference in being able to give staff more hours and offering more appointments."

Treasurer Cameron Dick. Picture: Annette Dew
Treasurer Cameron Dick. Picture: Annette Dew

The proposed changes aim to support businesses, industry and communities by simplifying or removing a number of current planning approvals, including:

•If a business tenancy changes within an existing building, such as a hairdresser replacing a cafe in a local town centre

•Where a business is starting up or relocating to a location where the use is well suited and expected in that particular zone

•Making minor expansions to allow businesses to accommodate social distancing requirements

•Providing flexibility for home businesses in residential areas and farm stays in rural areas

•For temporary events such as school fetes or farmer's markets

Time frames for undertaking approved development have also recently been extended.

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"These small but significant changes to Queensland's planning processes will shape our economic recovery for the better," Mr Dick said.

"I urge local government, industry and the community to provide feedback on the amendments proposed."

The consultation period will run until Friday, August 7.

Have your say on the State Government's proposed red tape reduction measures here.