Mrs Armitage (Launceston) - Mr President, I thank the Leader for the briefings, particularly the ones we had yesterday. Going through the fact sheet point by point was very useful.
I support the bill before us. Anything that streamlines and makes easier a process has to be accepted. Planning has to be the most difficult part for any council. I know when I was on council, it was the worst thing for us, as councillors, to try to understand. You can only imagine how difficult it was for constituents, because they were not dealing with it all the time. They get very passionate about it because they only deal with it occasionally.
I believe we currently have 34 active planning schemes for our 29 councils and, if it could be achieved and workable, one single statewide planning scheme could be a way forward. However, I do not believe it will be the great panacea, and I am not sure one size fits all. Some of the smaller councils have different needs and requirements.
How confusing must it be for developers. Sometimes a developer is operating over two council boundaries, sometimes three council boundaries, depending on how large the development is, and each council has different requirements for their development. I can think of a couple that probably border on Launceston, Northern Midlands and perhaps Meander Valley. It makes it so hard for a developer. In some cases I have heard them say, 'Is it really worth it? It becomes such an effort'. I appreciate the Government rolling out the red carpet rather than the red tape, and sometimes we need to do that. We have been talking with the Chinese and other investors and we need to promote investment and development in Tasmania.
I see this bill as getting support from local government. I have spoken to several councils, and while there have been a few minor issues, there do not seem to be any major issues. As was mentioned yesterday, currently you cannot apply for amendments, only for dispensation. It removes the dispensation aspect, so that the amendments can apply and it closely mirrors the amendment process.
There are too many other areas that have not been mentioned already. It sorts out the bushfire area - it puts two sets of criteria into the one spot in the act so it is much easier and clearer for people when they need to find things within the act. Representation was mentioned by some members. If I recall from the briefing, removing the requirement for the planning authority to provide a copy of each representation on a common provision to each other planning authority within the region will shorten and tidy up the process. This is very important because it becomes a complex and confusing issue. It is almost 'confuse and conquer' in some of the bills we have. People look at them, they cannot understand them, they come to us and we try to understand them. If we have some local government background, we might have some contacts within local government that can explain what we do not understand, but your average punter cannot do that. They cannot even get past the phone to someone in planning, or someone who can explain things to them.
I appreciate that the Government, while this may not be perfect, is on the road to improving what we have. I support the bill.