The Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania, a new alliance of community groups from across Tasmania that is united with a common concern over the weakening of the state’s planning rules, has been launched.
We have been a major supporter of PMAT. The most obvious concerns with the recent changes to Tasmania’s planning legislation to create the Tasmanian (statewide) Planning Scheme relate to primarily urban issues such as residential density, site coverage, setbacks and building envelopes, but they also have major implications for development in, or adjacent to reserved land – hence our concern:
• Once the Statewide Planning Scheme takes effect, developments on reserved land which have received the necessary authorisation from the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service will become a “permitted” use. i.e. the local council has no role in the assessment. This removes the legal requirement for disclosure of details of the development proposal, public comment and appeal rights. The only opportunity for public involvement in future will be via the inadequate PWS Reserve Activity Assessment (which PWS is not obliged to make public and which does not provide appeal rights).
• The Statewide Planning Scheme will greatly reduce local government’s authority to restrict subdivisions. This is likely to lead to ribbon development on the coast and residential development adjacent to coastal reserves. Another area of concern is adjacent to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, particularly along the northern slopes of the Great Western Tiers.
• Major projects legislation is likely to make assessment of large developments the responsibility of the Coordinator-General (i.e. minimising the role of PWS or council). Likely candidates include cable cars on Mount Wellington and Cradle Mountain (visitor centre to Dove Lake).