Wednesday 19 November 2014

Hansard of the Legislative Council


Mr FINCH (Rosevears)- Mr President, we are told this bill is the first in a series to streamline the planning process and eventually lead to a single statewide planning scheme within the next year. This concerns me for two reasons. When I hear the word 'streamlining' it often leads to taking away people's rights to object. I have yet to be convinced that a single statewide planning scheme will work. What about horses for courses? The makeup of my West Tamar Council is vastly different from the Launceston City Council area, so each council needs to take a different approach to planning needs. A mainly rural region has different needs to an urban one.

However, putting those concerns aside, local government as a whole supports this rather complex bill and councils know a great deal more about planning issues than I do. Tasmanian governments have been trying to get the planning right for many decades without a great deal of success. When I first came into this Chamber, my first major issue was a planning issue for a constituent. It was very complex and frustrating and that has continued with various planning issues I have had to deal with. We will see how this attempt goes, by about the end of 2015.

I have looked at the submission by the Tasmanian Environment Association and noted its reservations, particularly about the future role of the Tasmanian Planning Commission. Ending the TPC's role to hold public hearings where individuals are able to put their respective cases does not restrict the right of a person to make a representation to the TPC. The Tasmanian Environment Association refers to the failure of the TPC to release a copy of the legal advice it has received from the Solicitor-General. While it is not obliged to release such advice, its failure to do so may leave it open to us to assume the report was adverse to the interests of the Government. Some of the Tasmanian Environment Association's concerns are valid and some are not.

While I note that, I must go with the opinion of those who carry out the planning processes of local government. Of course, through Committee I will be guided by the vast experience we have in the Chamber from local government. I support the continuing development of land use planning through this bill.