Image for The Peter Gutwein no-show. Video. National Trust warning ...

The crowd packed the hall and even the rear room had to be opened up to accommodate the overflow

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Tasmanian Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia, Brian Wightman, taking notes at the back of the public meeting.

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Sophie Underwood of Freycinet Action Network tells a story about a brick wall and loss of sunlight and privacy.

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The atmosphere was somewhat sombre as people heard how Victoria had lost a sense of cohesiveness due to a similar process. Professor Michael Buxton, Professor of Environment and Planning at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, spoke about the opportunity Tasmania has to learn from other States and to think forward to 2050 and longer. To retain a sense of place that is unique to Tasmania.

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The atmosphere was somewhat sombre as people heard how Victoria had lost a sense of cohesiveness due to a similar process. Professor Michael Buxton, Professor of Environment and Planning at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, spoke about the opportunity Tasmania had to learn from other States and to think forward to 2050 and longer. To retain a sense of place that is unique to Tasmania.

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Vica Bayley of the The Wilderness Society introduces Sophie Underwood of Freycinet Action Network.

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In the crowd - Bob Brown, Christine Milne. Speakers in the front row R to L include Madeleine Ogilvie Shadow Minister for Local Government and Public Planning, Michael Buxton, Professor of Environment and Planning at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, Dr Rosalie Woodruff Tasmanian Greens Planning portfolio, Distinguished Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick, Head of Discipline of Geography and Spatial Sciences, University of Tasmania

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More people listened from the landing area ...

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Dr Rosalie Woodruff Tasmanian Greens Planning portfolio, Distinguished Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick, Head of Discipline of Geography and Spatial Sciences, University of Tasmania

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Michael Buxton, Professor of Environment and Planning at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, tells how Melbourne lost its unique atmosphere as development that was out of character with a streetscape was more easily approved.

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Distinguished Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick, Head of Discipline of Geography and Spatial Sciences, University of Tasmania claimed to be the only person in the room who had read all of the Draft document - nearly 700 pages. He spoke about the values of place and how this needs to be part of any Planning Scheme even though it is more difficult to measure than potential remuneration to government and development profits.

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Shadow Minister Madeleine Ogilvie spoke about the need to consult more with the community, appeal rights and a long term vision.

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Dr Rosalie Woodruff Tasmanian Greens Planning portfolio talked about taking the politics out of Planning and restoring the power and independence of the Tasmanian Planning Commission. Protecting local character as well as stronger planning controls so that developments benefit the community’s interests and sustain the environment.

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Sophie Underwood, Freycinet Action Network, was bouyed by the turnout and the obvious concern that people hold over the current Draft State Planning Provisions.

Planning Minister Peter Gutwein was the no-show he had telegraphed earlier ... though he did release this Media Release ...

Today’s protest rally over planning reform is another clear sign that Labor and the Greens are still joined at the hip.

The Government makes no apologies for wanting to make the planning system faster, fairer, simpler and cheaper.  Under Labor and the Greens there were 29 different planning schemes and the system was a mess.  We took our policy for a single, statewide planning scheme to the election and it was endorsed by the people of Tasmania.  It’s now being considered by the independent Tasmanian Planning Commission and any issues should have been raised through that process.

It’s not surprising to see the Greens opposing sensible planning reform, but it was surprising to see the Greens being cheered on by Labor at today’s protest.  It’s even more surprising considering that Labor actually voted for these reforms when they were considered by Parliament.

On the weekend, the Premier said that the Hodgman Government would unashamedly continue to govern from the centre, while Labor and the Greens move further and further to the ideological left.  Today we saw a classic example of that in action: Labor and the Greens, hand-in-hand, opposing sensible reforms to unlock the State’s potential and encourage investment, development and jobs.

The single statewide planning system has been developed in consultation with the Local Government Association, the Master Builders’ Association, the TFGA, the TCCI, and the HIA as well as 145 stakeholders across the broader community and other experts in the field.

It’s up to Labor now to tell each of these organisations why they are opposed to the planning reforms that these groups have helped design.

That is spin. The truth is more likely contained in the Media Alert published earlier ...

The Hodgman Government is weakening planning laws to make development easier and cut-out community control. This will change the face of Tasmanian cities, towns and bush. One day this will affect you and your backyard!

When: Today, 8th November
        1:10 pm to 2 pm

Where:  Hobart Town Hall

SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

Michael Buxton - Professor of Environment and Planning at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University

Distinguished Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick -  Head of Discipline of Geography and Spatial Sciences, University of Tasmania

Madeline Ogilvie - Labor spokesperson on Planning

Rosalie Woodruff - Greens spokesperson on Planning

Twenty community and environment groups are calling this public meeting, including:

1. Bay of Fires Coastal Preservation Lobby
2. Beaumaris Action Network
3. BirdLife Tasmania
4. Blackmans Bay Residents Action Group
5. Environment Tasmania
6. Freycinet Action Network
7. Friends of Four Mile Creek
8. Friends of the Blue Tier
9. Friends of the East Coast
10. North East Bioregional Network
11. Precinct 33 Amendments Group
12. Seymour Community Action Group
13. South Hobart Progress Association
14. Southern Beaches Conservation Society
15. Tasmanian Conservation Trust
16. Tasmanian National Parks Association
17. Tasmanian Planning Information Network
18. The Bob Brown Foundation
19. The Wilderness Society
20. Woodbridge Community Association

So there you have it ... the Big End of Town v. Little Guys ...

Judging by today’s turnout - it was standing room only at the Town Hall - the Little Guys have to be in front ... but the Big End of Town has the power ...

MEANWHILE ... here’s the Planning Information Network’s take ...

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Briefing Paper – Sept 2016

TASMANIAN PLANNING SCHEME AND ASSOCIATED PLANNING PROVISIONS

Overview

The Tasmanian Government is amending the way development is assessed and approved in
Tasmania by creating a single, statewide planning scheme to replace the current schemes. This
involves the development of State Planning Provisions and other local provisions that will
fundamentally change the way development assessments are made, what is permitted and how the
public participates in development decisions in their community or area of interest.

This is the most significant legislative change to planning law since the introduction of the Resource
Management and Planning System in 1993. It counters many of the objectives that system was
designed to implement and has the potential to profoundly change the physical character of our
communities, the public amenity within those communities and the capacity for public engagement
in development and planning decisions.

Process

The process of amending LUPAA and establishing cascading planning provisions is deemed
inadequate by many because:

 The Planning Minister (Peter Gutwein) is responsible for both drafting and approving the
scheme and its provisions;

 The ministerially appointed body overseeing the drafting is chaired by the former head of
the Property Council1, a lobby group representing the sector most likely to benefit and
whose ‘ top priority is to assist in delivering a single state-wide planning scheme’2

 Just two months was allowed for community consultation on profound and wide-reaching
changes that are complex, difficult to communicate and impact on all Tasmanians.

Developments in National Parks and conservation reserves

The Tasmanian Government has an active policy of weakening environmental protections for
conservation reserves to facilitate private commercial tourism development. This has already seen
controversial changes proposed for the management plans of the Freycinet and Narawntapu
National Parks and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area following a non-statutory
Expressions of Interest (EOI) process.

Parallel with a Government propensity to change park management plans to suit private commercial
development proposals, the Tasmanian Planning Scheme and associated provisions would:

 Make private commercial developments within parks and reserves a ‘permitted activity’
once approved under an internal Parks and Wildlife Service RAAiii process;

 RAA approved private development on public land that is recognised as having high natural
and or cultural values will not be able to be refused by local councils, even where they
consider the development will have negative impacts on the reserve, or the broader area.

 The RAA is a non-statutory process that does not guarantee public participation or have
third party rights of appeal. This actively avoids the rights of appeal available under LUPAA,
and removes independence and capacity by placing assessment decisions in the hands of a Government agency that is already acknowledged as inadequately resourced;

 The Minister has executive power to approve a development irrespective of assessment recommendations.

Private land development and ‘Natural Assets Code’

Development on private land for pasture, plantation or irrigation infrastructure is already inadequately addressed under LUPAA with many activities already exempted from its provisions. The planning changes take this further, including by:

 Making many applications requiring a Forest Practice Plan exempt from planning assessments. This limits Council oversight of local vegetation loss and removes public rights to comment on and challenge such proposals;

 Permitted vegetation clearance in the Rural Living Zone is to be increased by a factor of six, from <500m2 to

<3000m2)

 Introducing a Natural Assets Code that weakens biodiversity assessment by:

o Constraining the notion of natural landscape health and opening up a ‘block by block’ assessment that allows for a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ outcome;

o Limiting ‘priority habitat’ to that for threatened species/ecological communities and ignoring connectivity and other issues critical in contemporary conservation land management planning;

o Exempting a range of activities, including vegetation clearance on agricultural land.

Urban and other developments

Alongside our parks and reserves, the local character, amenity and liveability of Tasmania’s towns and cities helps set it apart from other states. The abandonment of individualised local planning schemes and the adoption of a single statewide scheme risks generalising Tasmania’s approach to planning and affecting unique local character and other important values. Concerns include:

 Development in Residential Zones are generally exempt from the application of the Natural Assets Code;

 Coastal subdivisions or ribbon development is allowed within 1km of the coast, contrary to the State Coastal Policy;

 The new Scenic Protection Code removes existing protections and will not apply to General or Low Density Residential zones;

 Units are “permitted” in all the Inner Residential Zones with minimal requirements for outdoor space;

 The large size of buildings permitted under the new building envelopes. For example, height limitations will be increased to 8.5m (in some cases 9.5m) in all zones from the current 5m.

Conclusion

The proposed new Tasmanian Planning Scheme reduces protections, scrutiny and public participation and is inconsistent with the objectives of LUPAA (Schedule 1) because:

 It reduces the ability of the public to participate in resource management and planning by increasing exemptions and shifting assessment responsibility;

 It is moving away from, rather than towards, a planning system which maintains ecological processes and genetic diversity;

 It does not take a precautionary approach towards safeguarding, protecting and avoiding impacts on the natural or built environment.

Notes ...

1 http://www.examiner.com.au/story/2227956/massina-in-top-planning-role/
2 https://www.propertycouncil.com.au
3 http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/Documents/RAA%20Overview.pdf

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...
Defined by pride of place

ABC: Hobart Town Hall packed as hundreds object to Government’s proposed new planning laws

*Lindsay Tuffin has been a journo for nearly five decades in Aus and Pomland ...

• John Hayward in Comments: The TPS will be a major reconciliation of outdated planning procedures with the streamlined self-regulation accorded our woodchip industry, where friction with the public interest has been reduced to the sort of drag coefficients experienced in outer space. Is it fair that eminent cronies can be subjected to irksome and frankly meaningless public challenge procedures that their logging colleagues are immune from? Is it fair that some people can be barred from assuming title to scenic Crown land simply because they wear large white shoes? Minister Gutwein’s absence was itself a powerful assertion of LibLab principles - their rock-ribbed refusal to allow public interference in the affairs of major stakeholders.

Planning Matters! Next Step ...

• Andrew Ricketts in Comments: Make no mistake this is the Property Council’s Planning Scheme. It is supporting it all the way and its former Tasmanian Executive director Ms Massina is now the head of the Planning Reform Taskforce who drafted the Draft State Planning Provisions (DSPP). The Tasmanian Planning Scheme, if introduced as is, would overidingly fail to meet the sustainability criteria set out in Schedule 1 of The Act. It may even be the Liberals’ strategy to cause the demise of local government across Tasmania. It (the SPP) would certainly comprehensively diminish and deny citizens’ rights of objection and appeal. The community already have limited ability to control developments, so the further erosion of citizen’s rights is very concerning. I was not in Hobart for yesterday’s planning forum meeting, which has been dishonestly termed by Minister Guttwein a “protest rally” …

• Watch Simon de Little’s video record of the meeting (to which most of Hobart seems to have turned out) …  HERE

Sunday Tasmanian: National Trust warns heritage on a backburner under new planning laws