Q&A in Huonville

How will the new planning laws affect you?

Planning laws affect us all sooner or later and the State Government is proposing major reforms that they say will “provide a fairer, faster, cheaper and simpler planning system for Tasmania”. It sounds almost too good to be true and there are many critics who claim it is.

There is no doubt that the current system is complicated and can be expensive and frustrating but will the new state-wide system really be any better? When the Government says it will be “fairer” what do they mean? Fairer for who?

The proposed changes are the most significant since 1993 and have the potential to alter the physical character of our communities and our built and natural heritage. The Property Council has long been lobbying for changes to a planning process that it feels hinders development and will be happy that the proposed changes include “reducing the time-frame for assessing permitted use and development applications from 42 to 28 days”. Critics claim that this will reduce the capacity for public engagement in planning decisions. They also say that some of the changes will weaken protection of conservation reserves to facilitate private tourism development.

Other concerns are that the changes will permit more land clearing in rural areas and higher density development in towns allowing for higher buildings closer to the boundaries of residential blocks. This could have a significant impact on neighbours in terms of sunlight, views and, inevitably, property values.

To help us get a better understanding of the proposed changes the Huon Valley Residents and Ratepayers Association have invited an expert panel for a Q&A meeting in the Huonville Town Hall at 7pm on Wednesday 26th July. They will be able to explain the pros and cons of the changes and answer your questions.