Further to our previous update we have been advised the following from the Deputy Premier & Minister for Local Government & Planning’s office in response to queries regarding state legislation and existing use rights for properties with a history of short term lets within the Noosa Shire.

  • We understand that Noosa Shire Council (the council) continues to receive complaints regarding party houses and short-term accommodation (STA) potentially operating with existing lawful use rights.
  • The Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (the department) have advised that the council needs to assess existing lawful use rights on a case-by-case basis. However, to have existing uses rights, the use must have been a lawful use of premise under the relevant planning scheme.
  • It is the department’s view that, the use of a house/unit as a party house (as defined) in Noosa requires that a development approval is in effect either under the Noosa Plan 2006 or the Noosa Plan 2020. Without approval, the use would not have lawful use rights under the Planning Act 2016 (Planning Act).
  • It is also the department’s view that, under the Noosa Plan 2006, conducting a STA in a dwelling house would have required approval for “visitor accommodation” (or it would have been an undefined use if not operating in accordance with the visitor accommodation definition).
  • However, we note that the council has published a fact sheet on existing lawful use rights for STA (https://www.noosa.qld.gov.au/downloads/file/2528/fact-sheet-19-sta-existing-use-rights) which states that the council considers many properties already used for STA prior to the commencement of the Noosa Plan 2020 may have existing use rights where a history of the use was lawfully established.
  • Therefore, the department does not consider there is an issue related to the detached house/dwelling unit definitions in the Noosa Plan 2006 as party houses are separately defined from STA and could not have existing use rights (see attachment).
  • Section 260 of the Planning Act does not allow for further regulation of a lawful development under the planning framework. Therefore, retrospective application of restrictions on a lawful STA cannot be applied under planning legislation.
  • However, the council has sufficient powers under the Planning Act to take enforcement action against the owners of properties being used as party houses or for STA that do not have a relevant planning approval.
  • We can advise that the department is currently reviewing how STA is regulated under the planning framework, recognising the need for a balanced approach considering tourism and housing affordability.
  • The review of STA is being considered alongside work being undertaken by the department about how residential uses are regulated by the planning framework. This will also include the consideration of key actions under the Queensland Government’s Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021 – 2025 (HHAP). The HHAP supports the Queensland Housing Strategy 2017-2027, which aims to ensure that all Queenslanders have a pathway to safe, secure and affordable housing.

For any further specific queries relating to state government and legislation, please email our office via noosa@parliament.qld.gov.au

For any queries relating to Noosa Council’s local and planning laws in relation to STAs, contact information is available at https://www.noosa.qld.gov.au/downloads/file/927/contact-list-councillors