PARLIAMENT SQUARE PLANNING PERMIT BILL 2012 (No. 57)
Mrs ARMITAGE (Launceston) - I appreciated the briefings we had today on this matter. I will not speak too long because most of it has been already said. I am still having difficulty with this bill. While I appreciate the urgency in view of the further appeal being listed for February 2013, I am yet to be convinced that is enough of a reason to undermine the democratic appeals process in the planning scheme. This bill appears to me to be undermining the objectives of LUPAA for what could be considered dubious economic benefit to the people of Tasmania. I recall several years ago when due process was abandoned to hasten matters, and purportedly to save a considerable amount of money. I believe it related to the pulp mill, and we all know the outcome of that. It neither hastened matters nor did it save money. In fact, abandoning the process was the very reason many opposed the mill. I accept this has been an exhaustive process, particularly for the developers. I feel for the developers because I know how difficult it can be getting through the planning process. We are being told that delays will cost even more money with the appeal set for February, hence why it is before us now. We have heard from the appellants that 10 Murray Street should be on the heritage register, but I have my own thoughts about that. The words 'prudent' and 'feasible' come to mind. We have heard 'prudent' and 'feasible' quite a lot lately but I believe previous members, including the member for Nelson, covered that quite well. We were advised that 10 Murray Street will need a considerable amount of money spent on it if it is not demolished. The real issue for me is not about 10 Murray Street or 2-4 Salamanca Place. Notwithstanding any heritage consideration, it is imperative the government must be seen to work within the Tasmanian planning system. As the member for Mersey said, it would be expected from any private developer. From the information the government has provided, they are basically saying, 'Trust us'. Why would you not trust the government? The deal looks too good to be true: 400 jobs, new buildings, re-use of heritage buildings, a new square. There has to be something substantial for the developer, which is only natural and I accept that. I am not going to dwell on whether we should be proceeding with the development because that decision has already been made. I am voting on whether we abandon the appeal process and ignore the planning scheme. I agree we need certainty and consistency for developers, but should local government planning laws be ignored? That is the real issue I have. I agree that developers have to know where they are going and I do not have a problem with that, but I have concerns when the planning comes down to the whim of a minister. It has been mentioned also there has not been any huge community uproar as there was with the pulp mill, but how many people know it is before us? It has come to us very quickly, so does the community know this is here and we are looking to abandon due process? The words that come to my mind are, 'Act in haste, repent at leisure'.