Thursday 26 May 2011
Legislative Council Hansard

[2.32 p.m.]
Mr FINCH (Question) - My question is to the Leader. Can the Government confirm that it plans a one-off reprieve for residences that breach council planning and building laws, particularly homes that have been caught up in the State Policy on the Protection of Agricultural Land like that of Richard and Joan Bridge who face eviction from their Moorleah home south of Wynyard? If there is to be a reprieve when will it happen? Why is it taking the Government so long to rectify this problem and end the anguish of people caught out by the PAL policy?
Mr PARKINSON - I thank the member for his question. The former Minister for Planning tabled the Land Use Planning Approvals (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2009 late in 2009. It was not debated before Parliament was prorogued. The bill introduced a new enforcement regime within the act. I am advised that before bringing that bill back to Parliament the minister is considering whether an amnesty period should be put in place to allow for illegal use and development to be brought into conformity with the planning scheme or with building, health and environmental regulations. The amnesty could be put in place for a period of around six to nine months to allow time for planning and building documentation to be prepared and submitted to the relevant council. The enforcement legislation would be designed to come into effect after that period.
I should point out that any amnesty would not allow for the continued occupation of a building that does not meet the minimum building, health, safety and environmental standards for a habitable dwelling or could not be made to meet those standards.
Before deciding on whether to proceed with an amnesty, the Government needs to consult with local government on its exact extent and parameters. The Minister for Planning has asked the Tasmanian Planning Commission to seek feedback from local government on the proposal. A consultation paper has been sent out for comment, which provides background to the proposal. Councils have until 3 June 2011 to provide any comments to the commission.
The commission has also sought comment from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment, Hydro Tasmania and Forestry Tasmania as managers of major land holdings. It would not be appropriate to try to predict whether an individual case would or would not be covered by the amnesty, assuming it proceeds.
I would expect the relevant legislation to be considered by the Parliament in the second half of this year.