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Major projects legislation

The State government recently released its draft legislation concerning Major Projects.
 
This is the second component of the Liberal government’s proposed reforms of the Tasmanian Planning System.  The other components are:

 
The Major Projects legislation defines the eligibility criteria for a Major Project.  They include the following: (emphasis added)
 
60H (1)   A project is eligible to be declared to be a major project if, in the opinion of the
               Minister, the project has one or more of the following attributes:

 
While the attributes (a) to (e) might be argued as reasonable, the last (f) is the catch-all.  That is, a project can alone be declared a Major Project if “in the opinion of the Minister” the project merely “warrants declaration as a major project”.  Thus the ultimate decision power is vested in the opinion of the Minister.  Plausibly, a project may not be significant in any way, but significant to the Minister alone.
 
This criterion exposes the Minister to undue influence by project proponents and thus accusations of corruption.
 
Friends of the East Coast Inc argues this is another reason why donations to political parties from developers should be illegal.  Tasmania needs to catch up with other states by eliminating potential political corruption, whether real or perceived.
 
The Major Projects Bill and Explanatory Notes are available online:
Download the draft Bill:
www.justice.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/389368/Land_Use_Planning_and_Approvals_Amendment_Major_Projects_Bill_2017-_Draft.pdf 

Download the explanatory paper:
Major Projects - Land Use Planning and Approvals Amendment (Major Projects) Bill 2017: Consultation Paper & Draft Exposure Bill (pdf, 1.5 MB)
 
Comments on the draft Bill can be sent to the Department of Justice by Monday, 2 October 2017, marked ‘Major Projects Reform’. email Planning.Unit@justice.tas.gov.au


  • the statewide Tasmanian Planning Scheme, which is currently being introduced, and
  • the proposed restrictions on third party appeals to “those directly affected by a proposed development or community groups with a longstanding interest — not groups expressly set up to oppose development”
  1. the project will make a significant financial or social contribution to a region or the State;
  2. the project is of strategic planning significance to a region or the State;
  3. the project will significantly affect the provision of public infrastructure, including, but not limited to, by requiring significant augmentation or alteration of public infrastructure;
  4. the project has, or is likely to have, significant, or potentially significant, environmental, economic or social effects;
  5. the approval or implementation of the project will require assessments of the project, or of a use, development or activity that is to be carried out under the project, to be made under two or more project-associated Acts or by more than one planning authority;
  6. the project warrants declaration as a major project.