Mrs Armitage (Launceston) - Mr President, put simply, this is enabling legislation which does not contain the contents of the scheme itself. It is, first and foremost, a framework bill. It is what comes next which will be the most important. This is about a single planning scheme for Tasmania. It is not unfettered access. It is about common provision, and common understanding, across municipal boundaries.
Many amendments have been proposed. The one raised with me the most was to do with the 21 days. As for the timeframe for permitted use, 21 days should be returned to 28 days. I will support the amendment coming up to take it back to 21 days. It was previously 42 days, and was reduced to 28.
Permitted developments are not the same as exempt developments, and still require assessment whereby conditions can be imposed. The only real difference with discretionary applications is permitted developments do not have to be advertised. All councils I have heard from want certainty, and wish to see the new legislation passed without delay. While we did receive some concerns and queries that maybe this could go to committee, having mentioned this to various councils, it was the last thing they wanted. They said, 'Just get on with it.'
Consistency is important, particularly for landowners and developers who may have a development spanning more than one council area. I recall when I was on Launceston City Council - I think it was the Josef Chromy development - not only was there development in part of Launceston City Council, it was also part of Northern Midlands. How hard must it be when you have different schemes operating across a couple of different councils? It makes it hard for people.
This new legislation should save time, energy, and council resources, with more surety about what is required. Standardisation is good for builders and developers who work across the state with standard zones, definition, and overlays. It can only be beneficial for all, as we need property and construction to drive the economic revival in the state.
We have received many representations from a wide range of stakeholders, which is greatly appreciated. It is good to see people are taking note and considering the perceived implications of legislation. However, they will have the same opportunity to put submissions in during the public consultation process.
I am also assured the local variations will move across with the new scheme. That should give some measure of comfort to some of the people who have written to us with concerns. Particularly some which may have been mentioned by the member for Apsley. I believe she raised some of the concerns. I have also had raised with me that, with the minister being the person to sign off, it could be a bit like the bushfire code. I am hoping we have learnt from the problems we had in the past with the bushfire code. It was something of a disaster.
Mr Valentine (Hobart) - The minister signed off on that.
Mrs Armitage - That was my understanding, yes. I might be advised otherwise by the Leader, but that is what I have been told.
Mr Valentine - That would be interesting to know.
Mrs Armitage - Yes.
Another concern has been raised with me about the impact of the contents of this bill and that they could be massive. It would have been ideal if we could have seen the framework and the contents sitting side by side. In an ideal world, perhaps, but that will not be happening.
It was also raised that there could be many hundreds of public submissions, and whether the time frame was sufficient and reasonable to digest and absorb the amount of submissions that possibly could come in. I have been reassured by the Leader's team the minister can increase the time frame, if need be, to go through the submissions received. That is a good understanding.
I read from the two councils in my electorate. I asked them if they had any concerns, and if they could put it in writing. It is worthwhile - from Launceston and Meander Valley, the two councils I cover - the comments they made. Launceston City Council:
Further to your inquiry, we have no particular matters to raise with respect to the bill, as many of the amendments are related particularly to the transitional arrangements required to enable the introduction of the new statewide scheme.
I can advise that the City of Launceston provided input to LGAT's response to the draft amendment to LUPAA and it also represented on the Technical Reference Group for the drafting of the Statewide Planning Scheme.
Whilst the LGAT submission raised some concerns about the timing of the reform agenda and about the reduction of time for assessment of permitted use DAs, we are committed to working positively to contribute to, and implement, this latest review of the statewide planning system, just as we did with the previous reform process.
The Launceston Interim Planning Scheme 2015, LIPS, was the first revised scheme declared following the previous review and I believe that many of the issues being considered as part of the current work of the task force were considered at length during the public hearings process for the LIPS. We remain positive that by actively engaging the reform process we can be well placed to ensure the best outcomes for Launceston residents and developers.
That was from the Director of Development Services, City of Launceston.
I also have received comment from the Meander Valley Council and they state:
Our first observation would be that the changes to the legislation are generally administrative and they enable the creation of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme rather than inform the content. The proposed legislation provides for -
(a) The making of the scheme.
(b) The process for changing the scheme.
(c) The process for incorporating local variations into the scheme, and
(d) Managing, assessing proposed changes and finally declaring the changes.
These matters are not overly concerning to Meander Valley, they will in the end simply be processes we have to follow. Whether they are more efficient than existing processes will be borne out when they are implemented. Having said that, there is a sense of including local variations in the future will be an onerous process because of the drive and the consistency that underpins the policy position of the government. There are a couple of specific areas of change in the legislation however that do cause concern and these include time frames for issuing of permits. Twenty one days is too short and for smaller councils will impact on resources. The real concern, however, is the further reduction to 21 days appears to presume faster assessment capability for the new scheme's content. However there is no content available and we should determine if this is in fact the case.
The proposed changes do not appear to deal with the relationship between the regional land use strategies and the state planning provisions. The relationship between any future state planning policies and the regional land use strategies and the ongoing role of the regional land use strategies.
Meander Valley also supports the LGAT submission sent to the Legislative Council members.
Outside of this legislation itself the broader concerns are the current process provides the creation of state planning provisions without state planning policies in place. It will be the content and the detail of the new Tasmanian Planning Scheme where the issues will emerge. The Tasmanian Planning Commission is not appropriately resourced to effectively manage the transition and ongoing management of the new scheme. There are too many different parties within state government working on different aspects of the reform process with no clear project plan or overriding project management. For all of the energy and effort that is going into the reform process, there will not really be any significant change, and where there will be substantial change it will impact local area planning.
I have two councils within my electorate, Meander Valley and Launceston City Council, so they are their views.
Many councils are currently living under an interim planning scheme so the sooner this is in place the quicker consultation processes can take place. I understand that councils will still have the opportunity for individual provision schedules relevant to their area, their heritage or other.
In closing, one quite simple, legally robust, consistent set of rules with straight translation across the state is what this proposed legislation is all about.