New ALP PLANNING POLICY announced

The Shadow Local Government and Planning Minister, Madeline Ogilvie, released the new ALP planning policy at a public meeting in Hobart on Friday 24 November 2017.
 
The full text of the new policy statement can be read here:

 new_tasmanian_alp_planning_and_local_government_policy.pdf

Friends of the East Coast has always believed the ALP would support the new statewide Tasmanian Planning Scheme.
 
In 2015 Lara Giddings stated: “Labor welcomes the Government’s new planning legislation which provides a basic framework for a singular state-wide planning scheme and builds on the hard work of the previous Government.”
 
So with both major parties supporting the new Scheme, the task for local communities is to get the best deal by reform of the Scheme.  This will not happen overnight, but will be a long-term process, possibly taking many years to make gains.
 
However, it is not all doom and gloom.  There are some positives within the ALP policy.
 
The next stage of the implementation of the new Tasmanian Planning Scheme is the declaration of Local Provisions Schedules (LPSs).  These are not expected until after the State Election next year.
 
Many Councils have complained about not having sufficient resources to properly develop Particular Purpose Zones, Specific Area Plans and lists of heritage or historical precincts & features, etc., in their LPSs.  These would enable protections to various aspects of their local conditions.  This is a major critical aspect of the new Planning Scheme.  Without protections of local planning features, often obtained by hard fought campaigns by local residents, local character and difference will be lost to bland uniformity.
 
The ALP policy commits to “ensure Local Councils are appropriately resourced to develop Local Provisions Schedules (LPS’s) for unique areas which may not fit within the generic State Planning Provisions.”
 
The ALP has committed to protecting third party appeal rights for Discretionary developments.  (These are developments which a local council has discretion to refuse or permit a use or development, mainly because the development relies on Performance Criteria or else the use is specified as discretionary.  Note there is no appeal rights for a proposal which is Permitted and doesn’t rely on Performance Criteria.)
 
The Liberal Government has previously indicated it intends to curb third party appeal rights, but now they appear to have lost control of the Upper House they may re-consider this radical proposal.
 
The ALP has also disclosed it has no plans to change legislation for projects of State or Regional Significance.  Hopefully this is not a matter of slick words, as the Liberal Government’s proposal to legislate for Major Projects will replace current legislation for projects for Regional Significance, but will leave the current arrangements for projects of State Significance.
 
The ALP policy states it will “not support giving call-in powers to a single Minister for projects such as high-rise towers, without giving the Parliament the final say.”  In the current controversy over high-rise building in Hobart, many opponents would prefer City Councils to have the power to control such developments rather than Parliament.
 
Overall, the ALP planning policy statement is mildly critical of the Government’s planning proposals, but essentially timid and disappointing.  Developers, the Property Council and the Government are unlikely to be concerned.