Thursday 7 July 2011
Hansard of the Legislative Council
CANAL ESTATES (PROHIBITION) BILL 2011 (No. 15)
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Madam President, of course, what we
do not want to do is send a negative message to potential
investors in Tasmania including those who want to invest in
coastal development. But we do have to look very closely indeed
into the possible adverse effects of coastal development.
Above all, we must listen to the community. I think that is
my message today. I think we have all seen, since the Budget,
what can happen when the community feels that it has not been
We have seen the test case for proposed canal development
where the message from the community at Lauderdale was loud
and clear. The community did not want a canal development.
We have heard a wake-up call from the community over the school
closure issue. Ignore strong community views and it is fair
to say you are not doing your job as an elected community
Madam President, there are justifiable concerns about so-called
canal estates, especially with predictions of sea-level rises
because of melting ice caps, as we have heard this morning
in our briefing. We have all received numerous submissions
on this bill - and people would probably think a handful -
but I have been bombarded by e-mails and they have been stored
- I have retained them all. It has been quite a divided issue
in our community.
Some submissions, probably most, have contained very cogent
arguments. Some opposing a ban on canal estates speak of the
need for development investment in hard economic times but
others fail to see much economic stimulus from canal estate
development and some even see future costs to local government.
I will just give one example - Jenny Fuller of South Hobart,
and I quote:
'The infrastructure requirements for canal developments -
drainage, land reclamation, protection from the sea, and impact
on the nearby land areas are very costly. If a canal development
stalls during construction, or fails to sell when complete,
the taxpaying community is likely to end up footing the bill,
and the damage to the environment has already been done, so
if rehabilitation is needed, it is most unlikely that developers
will be required to meet that cost - tax and rate payers are
again left 'holding the baby'.
Flow of water around a canal estate to mitigate against build-up
of silt, pests such as mosquitoes, stagnation of the water,
and the attendant smell presents challenges which have not
been satisfactorily resolved in mainland canal estates.'
That is the end of the quote and one of a number of submissions
that came to me along similar lines. It is fair to say, Madam
President, that Tasmania needs capital investment but it should
be capital investment that will help sustain Tasmania in the
future. Residential canals may have a temporary influx of
capital for clearing of land, diverting waterways to make
the canal and building of houses on the canal development
and after that, there will not be any further capital influx.
However, if capital is instead invested in agriculture or
resource development, there is a long-term benefit to the
State. Residential canals of course look good when they are
first developed and I am a great fan. I remember living on
the Gold Coast when Bruce Small was the mayor - many years
ago - and he was a great promoter of canals and they were
very much appreciated by people who moved to the Gold Coast
to live there.
Mr Wilkinson - You have still got a pair of white shoes up
there, haven't you?
Mr FINCH - They do tend to attract financially secure people
Mr Wilkinson - White shoes.
Mr FINCH - However, those people do not normally bring other
capital into the State. Canal developments may, however, become
a burden on local government and State government departments
who are then tasked with keeping the waterways clear. Some
argue that a ban is not needed, that any coastal development
proposal can be judged on its merits. However, that does create
uncertainty for would-be developers and as we have heard in
our presentation this morning, there is of course certainty
if there is a ban. At least developers know exactly where
As the Government says, a ban on coastal estates in Tasmania
will provide clarity and certainty to potential investors
and spare them the significant time and expense involved in
pursuing projects that are not sustainable and are likely
to be rejected by the Planning Commission. According to submissions
that I have received, canal developments are banned in some
mainland States, including Victoria and New South Wales, and
if I listen to the Tasmanian community, I hear a clear message
that canal developments are not wanted in Tasmania. I support