Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, I thank the member for Nelson for bringing this matter forward. I too have received many emails. I counted mine, and they came to just under 100 emails, including a couple of emails from the mayor of Kingborough, and with around four emails in favour of the development and the rest requesting disallowance of this order.
I note this land has been government-owned for 45 years. I question using emergency powers to now rezone. I have concerns about the number of houses and the sizes of blocks. We were told somewhere as small as 130 square metres for a unit and 275 square meters for a residential house. This is high-density housing, which basically means more people in the same area. I believe there has also been a relaxation in the allowed height. I also note that under supply order (2) permitted multiple dwellings with a site area of 325 square metres do not have to go out to consultation.
We were told there would likely be around 450 houses. Even though we were told, 'No, this won't happen', it is possible there could be over 600 lots if the minimum lot size was followed. My understanding is, and I am sure the Leader will correct me if I am wrong, that access will be through Huntingfield and also a roundabout on the Channel Highway, which I believe is on the crest of a hill and a 90 kilometre per hour zone.
While I appreciate we supported the Housing Land Supply Bill 2018 for affordable housing, I do not believe it was ever intended for areas of land as large as Huntingfield. There is a proposal that 15 per cent of the homes on the site will be for social housing. The minister, Mr Jaensch, in his second reading speech on the housing bill, stated that an order can only be made for a parcel or parcels of land if the Minister for Planning is satisfied -
… the land is in close proximity to public and commercial services, public transport and places that may provide opportunities for employment.
The fact sheet from the Housing Land Supply Bill 2018 states -
The Bill does not apply to reserved land or land set aside for forestry purposes. The Minister will also need to consult with a range of prescribed stakeholders prior to asking the declaration to rezone certain areas of land or nominate specific planning controls. The ‘interested persons’ include relevant planning authorities, any State Government agency that the Minister considers has an interest in the declaration, affected land owners, …
And in this case, there are many -
… utility providers and other statutory authorities, and the Tasmanian Fire Service, Heritage Council and Aboriginal Heritage Council.
The important sentence here is -
The Parliament of Tasmania will also provide an over-riding check on whether the Minister has exercised his or her powers appropriately through a 5-sitting day disallowance process where a proposed ‘housing land supply order’ is considered.
I certainly never envisaged parcels of land this large when I supported that bill. I thought it would be a smaller area, as we have seen in some of the areas with 70 to 80 houses - certainly not an area of land that at minimum would be 450 homes.
I believed on the passing the Housing Supply Bill 2018 that it would be used for disused government land, but I never envisaged it would be for use for developments of this size and scale. I would have liked to see the standard process used and I am not convinced a case has been made for using these emergency powers.
Leader, is there capacity in the local and neighbouring school and local medical centre? We were advised in briefings that this is unlikely. I also believe there is no ambulance, police or volunteer fire station in the area.
With 450 or more dwellings, I accept it needs to be a mix of affordable and private housing options. No one wants to return to the old broadacre housing estates, but I do not believe anyone is opposing the development. There are simply concerns about the lack of community consultation and perceived lack of infrastructure. We were further advised the greater Hobart-Kingborough infrastructure is currently at capacity with a lack of public transport and traffic issues with the number of homes proposed.
While I accept the consultation was correct in the sense that adjoining landholders were advised of the rezoning - and I believe 38 people consulted - with a proposed development of this size, it would have been more appropriate to advise and consult more fully.
Simply because you only have to go to one property plus one, whatever it might be in the planning, with a development of this size and scale, it would have been far more appropriate to consult more fully and widely.
It appears that currently there are 207 residential properties in Huntingfield for 24 hectares, but this proposal will yield over 450 dwellings for 34 hectares. It could be as many as 600, depending on the block size.
The real concern comes from lack of information for the people living there, parents and students of the schools with regard to proposed business zones, and the list goes on.
On balance, the question is whether this development is something that would pass through a council in normal circumstances or through the Tasmanian planning process, and is a difficult one.
No-one disputes we need more homes for people, particularly with the impact of short stay accommodation on the rental markets in many areas, but we must also be careful of putting particularly vulnerable people in social housing, in an area with little or no public transport or lack of other services, including schools or medical centres.
I note the requirement for a master plan that will go through a public exhibition process. The new order requires planning authorities to sign off on that master plan, but perhaps it would have been better had the master plan been part of the original process. This does not appear to be a good way to engage with any community.
People do not understand what is happening with Huntingfield because it does not appear to have been explained very well. I accept the importance and the imperative of affordable housing but, like the member for Nelson, I believe the outcome would have been better had it gone through the normal process. I really do not know that it would have taken much longer, and we heard at briefings that it has taken a reasonable period now. Perhaps it would not have taken much longer had we gone through the correct process.
This is an inappropriate process for such a large development. We must always have the best outcomes for our community at heart. I support the member for Nelson's motion of disallowance.