Thursday 24 November 2011

Hansard of the Legislative Council


BILL 2011 (No. 75)

Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Thanks very much to the member for Murchison because that is good research and advice that has come in to you. I have not been as fulsome in my investigations but I have sought advice and have been given some information. I want to send a message to the Leader. The message that came through to me was that too much bureaucratic intervention slows growth. I will go through some details. The minister and the Leader in the second reading speeches were laudatory as to the growth of the marine farming industry and claims that the provisions of this bill will help insure that Tasmania remains at the forefront of contemporary and specific planning legislation for marine farming in Tasmania all sounded wonderful. Our Leader also said that the bill provides for:

'(a) The Marine Farming Planning Review Panel to make recommendations to the minister and for the minister to have responsibility for making decisions; and

(b) The minister to be able to invite a person who has invested into the development to apply for a lease that might result from the planning process.'

This bill does not reduce the amount of bureaucracy that marine farmers have to navigate, but in fact increases it. The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment is the planning authority. There are the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel and then the board of advice and reference. Too much bureaucratic intervention slows growth.

The new section 33 introduced into the Marine Farming Planning Act 1995 by clause 5 of the bill does not lessen the period within which a person may request an amendment to a marine farming development plan - the MFDP. The MFDP has to be in operation for at least two years before an amendment can be sought.

The procedure for an amendment to an MFDP appears to be:

'(a) The applicant applies to the planning authority;

(b) The planning authority, within 35 days or any longer period the panel allows, must make a recommendation to the panel.'

Previously it was within 35 days -

'(c) If the panel approves the amendment, the panel seeks the minister's approval to direct the planning authority to prepare a draft amendment;

(d) The panel then directs the planning authority in writing to prepare the draft amendment;

(e) The planning authority prepares a draft amendment and submits it to the panel;

(f) If the panel determines an amendment to the draft plan should be made, the panel refers the amendment to the planning authority;

(g) The planning authority then refers the amended plan to the minister;

(h) If the minister has concerns, he may seek further information from the board, the panel or the planning authority;

(i) The minister then considers the amended plan and gives his final approval;

(j) The planning authority must then advertise the final approval; and

(k) On the final approval of the amendment the marine farming development which is to be replaced by the amendment ceases to have effect on the signature of the minister to the amendment.'

So it will be seen that the path to be pursued by an applicant to get final approval of an amendment is tortuous.

Ms Forrest - And circular - it comes around a couple of times.

Mr FINCH - Time limits within which action is to be taken by the planning authority or the panel or the decision by the minister, appear not to be absolute. The phrases 'as soon as practicable' or 'any longer period the panel allows' or 'any later day the Minister approves occur'. In the act the times were finite. They were seven days, 35 days, 60 days. Finite times. If the panel refuses an application for amendment to an FDP the panel is to give notice to the applicant as soon as practicable after making its decision that the application has been refused and the reason why the applicant is refused. In the act the notice had to be within seven days after the decision.

If the application is refused by the panel or in the event that the proposal had been referred to the minister and the minister had refused his approval, no further application for a substantial similar amendment to the MFDP can be made for a period of two years. The provisions in the act that an unsuccessful applicant can appeal to the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal against refusal of application remain undisturbed but the message I think through that, Leader, that I want to underline is too much bureaucratic intervention slows growth.