Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Planning law changes will change Tassie forever

Planning laws are being significantly changed this year.

The new Tasmanian Planning Scheme (TPS) is out now on the Tas Planning Commission website and up for public comment till 18th May. Many people are feeling left behind by what will be galloping change in our communities. Once this new TPS is implemented there will be no going back.

All of this has happened with virtually no real public conversation about how we want Tassie to look in the future; how we can best manage the old, plan for the new with the state’s natural and built environment whilst also attracting tourists and new residents.

Well said Richard Goodram! In Mercury letters, 12 April. Mr Goodram quotes visitor feedback, writing that people come here for the “clean, green, small, in an attractive architectural setting” which is increasingly attractive in our fast-paced world of the twenty-first century.

Do people around Tassie know the following?

1. In the General Residential zone (a very large part of suburban Hobart and other Tasmanian cities), dwellings and units up to twice the height and density of surrounding buildings will be classified as “no permit required”. These buildings will be able to be built without any notice to neighbours or opportunity to comment on how it will affect the character of their area.

The new planning provisions allow much smaller block sizes, increased height and densities, more concrete, more units and minimal garden space. Little regard is given to quality of life. Do not despair though, unit dwellers will be allowed 3 hours of sunlight in the middle of winter in their living space, if they are lucky!

2, Councillors who are elected to look after their ratepayers and their local area now appear to be largely sidelined by this process and risk losing their ability to stand up for what their community values.

3. Even these changes aren’t enough for some. There is also a concerted move by the development lobby to undermine the established legal processes by which the rest of us have to abide, at the same time overriding the community’s right to voice an opinion ( see Jessica Howard’s Mercury article p2 Sat 2nd April titled “Planning power push”, HERE ).

4. There has been no open public discussion to allow people to actually see what our cities, suburbs, environmental areas might look like (a small ad in the Mercury advertising a 429 page document of highly technical planning provisions plus an almost equally lengthy 245 page document of explanatory notes hardly qualifies).

In European cities, people successfully go about their activities within historic spaces, respecting the heritage character and applying a cautious approach – changing as much as necessary, but as little as possible (Burra Charter 2013, cl 3.1).

Hobart and indeed all of Tasmania needs a planning system that respects what is wonderful about our island state..

The new planning laws will change this state forever. The government is promoting the new system as “fairer, simpler, faster and cheaper”.

A system that makes it faster and cheaper to degrade local amenity and more difficult to protect areas that we care about is certainly not fairer!

Please check out the Tasmanian Planning Commission website ( HERE ) and the new state planning provisions (SPPs).

Let’s tell the government over the next 4 weeks that to serve current and future Tasmanians we need a planning system that is not only fairer and simpler, but “better”.

• Gwenda Sheridan in Comments: #17 John, the magnitude of the anticipated planning change is enormous. It is the most profound since the 1940s and seriously out-of-whack (my opinion) with what is happening elsewhere (nationally, internationally). There is no state policy for climate change, none for infrastructure, none for population/settlement (no density guidelines). There is one major R zone (Residential) for the entire state; the General Residential Zone with standards/regulations formerly from Attachment 1, Ministerial Planning Directive 4.1. Multi units are included in PD 4.1. Is my drift becoming clearer? …

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Andrew Ricketts

    April 19, 2016 at 3:43 am

    In post #15 I said: “The DRAFT State Planning Provisions doubtless have many, many problems across the many zones and provisions, not the ones mentioned by Ms Harrison and Mr Vincent.”

    But it should have also had the word ONLY before “the ones”. Sorry.

  2. Gwenda Sheridan

    April 17, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    #17 John, the magnitude of the anticipated planning change is enormous. It is the most profound since the 1940s and seriously out-of-whack (my opinion) with what is happening elsewhere (nationally, internationally). There is no state policy for climate change, none for infrastructure, none for population/settlement (no density guidelines). There is one major R zone (Residential) for the entire state; the General Residential Zone with standards/regulations formerly from Attachment 1, Ministerial Planning Directive 4.1. Multi units are included in PD 4.1. Is my drift becoming clearer?

    Re Heritage and your comment re de-listing: A series of dwellings in Elphin Road Launceston (surely one of Launceston’s most historic streets – but it has many) were formerly listed in the now defunct Register of the National Estate (published 1981, progressively added to) but have probably been delisted.

    As the Commonwealth basically divested itself of responsibility for heritage to states (as I see it), the period 2007-2012 allowed for a “transition” of the RNE’s heritage listed places. Whole towns and villages in Tasmania were listed in the RNE. All of Battery Point for example was listed (ie area, so technically this took in gardens, streetscapes, curtilages and more, similarly Longford, Ross, Low Head, Evandale, Stanley, Bothwell, etc). Tasmania had 151 pages of places, dwellings, reserves wild life sanctuaries, etc listed. Tasmania never made the “transition” (my view) to state responsibility for its huge heritage responsibility, again opting out by devolving heritage to local government who had neither the resources, staff, or funds to adequately manage it. Any read of Richard Mackay’s heritage report of 2005, (and the 82 recommendations therein), would convince any serious minded interested person of the cherry picking that occurred to Tasmania’s heritage future.

    The situation – in my professional opinion – is dire. It is easy to “de-list” a single land parcel
    • where the focus concentrates on the single lot parcel, rather than area consideration
    • where “heritage” isn’t recognised (not known, not researched); a heritage that goes way beyond buildings, bridges, churches and the like,
    • any character of place assessment doesn’t happen,
    • curtilage, extended curtilage is ignored,
    • cultural heritage (eg landscape), older gardens, exotic trees don’t count
    • 100 metres of streetscape is the nominated prescriptive number? Really? Where did this magic figure come from?
    • any assessment of the entire character of a place or entire village is absent,
    • desired future character statements are not in the Draft TPS,
    All the while the dumbing-down goes on apace. We live in a Life-World but one would never have guessed it from what we have in front of us.
    Gwenda Sheridan.

  3. Simon Warriner

    April 17, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    John Biggs at 17 illuminates what failing to learn from history looks like.

    Party politicians won’t fix the problem, John. What more is it going to take for people to see that, after the long haul of labor and the short sharp shock of the liberals, with no end to the disasters, cock-ups and cluster fucks?

    I say better a slightly untidy government where independents hold some of the power than a repeat of the last twenty five years of abysmal governance that has left the state ill equiped to face what look to be some of our most challenging times.

    Good government under the current paradigm is one where the rorts take place unnoticed and without complaint, the victims are silent and compliant, and the media do their “move along nothing to see here” spiel in perfect harmony with the government announcements. That is what John Biggs will get if his wish comes true, at best.

  4. TV Resident

    April 17, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    The ‘integrity commission’ was formed in such a way so that they have no power to do anything ansd also I believe this mob were formed to give high paying jobs to the usual bunch of mates. What we do need in my opinion is a federal ICAC with a powerful arm in each state to combat the current apparent corruption.

  5. Trish Kyne

    April 17, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    #I think such a conflict of interest should be lodged in writing with with the integrity commission. Things can stay under the radar if the public is unaware. If there is no comment from the public there may not be any investigation.

    I have no allegiance to any political party – but it strikes me that the list you have given goes back many years, and this is the Liberals first term for an equal amount of years. So no shining lights in the opposition either.

    As for Abetz,if voting liberal, voters need to place him as 5 in their order of preference. Maybe that would send a message to the power brokers……….

  6. John Biggs

    April 17, 2016 at 3:37 am

    In January 2015, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage Matthew Groom appointed a property developer as Chairperson of the Tasmanian Heritage Council. A year later de- listings have been announced: 49 in Hobart, all in North Hobart and New Town, and 65 in Launceston, focusing on Invermay and around the CBD. The pattern is ominous: many of the delistings are on adjacent blocks, and the whole of Bedford St in Invermay. While some houses, as the Council says, “do not meet the registration criteria”, much of this looks like delisting properties, especially those on adjacent blocks, to open them up for “development”, such as large apartment blocks. Surely there is a conflict of interest here.

    Tasmania has more heritage buildings than any other state, which is our pride and is a major attraction for tourists. However, it looks very like the Tasmanian Heritage Council is betraying its remit, which is to preserve our heritage not to sell it off to the private sector.

    Now we have this outrageous permission to double the height of buildings. This Government is all out to line the pockets of developers and mates. I know Labor at the moment is weak and it certainly had its mates’ moments but they wouldnlt go this far. As for competence, what could be more incompetent than the handling of the energy crisis, the draconian antiprotest laws that obviously weren’t thought through, the handling of Forestry Tasmania’s incompetence, the Tarkine bike trails, the list just goes on and on.

    Next election better a weak but generally well meaning government (crossing fingers here) than these neoliberals jerking to Abetz’s puppet strings.

  7. Simon Warriner

    April 16, 2016 at 2:07 am

    Oops!
    My post at 15 should finish with this:
    If it does, then why did the drafters of the document not include or mention it in the Clause I quoted?

    instead of this:
    If it does, then why did the drafters of the document include or mention it in the Clause I quoted?

  8. Andrew Ricketts

    April 15, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    (This is the first part of my comment which seems to have gone missing with post NO 13 being the second part.)

    There are several things perhaps to mention.

    Tasmania’s planning laws have already been changed a couple of times since the Liberals came to power under the planning mantra of fairer faster cheaper simpler. Those changes to the LUPAA legislation have actually made planning law in Tasmania far more voluminous and complex.

    What is available for statutory comment till the 18th May 2016 is not law or indeed a Tasmanian Planning Scheme, as has been claimed. I realise the current document is headed “Tasmanian Planning Scheme” but it is subtitled “Final Draft State Planning Provisions, 7 March 2016”. This in itself is surely so confusing that it may be open to challenge.

    Rather, it is only the DRAFT State Planning Provisions component of what will become, in effect 29 versions of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, one for each Municipal area, which is available for comment.

    The DRAFT State Planning Provisions are not a complete planning scheme at all and most certainly are not a Tasmanian Planning Scheme. That is important to realise. There are several components to a planning scheme be it statewide or local and the DRAFT State Planning Provisions document are but one.

    Our 28 current Interim Planning Schemes actually rely on a state template of planning provisions. Indeed Tasmania has had a state planning template for quite a long time under Planning Directive No 1.

    If you want to understand the DRAFT State Planning Provisions better you need to read the current version of Planning Directive No 1, as well as the associated explanatory documents, all on the Tasmanian Planning Commission website. These associated documents have also become much more voluminous which obviously fits the Liberal’s code for Simpler. Indeed the best way to get all the relevant documents you should have to make a submission is to request from the Tasmanian Planning Commission a DVD.

    It goes without saying that the DRAFT State Planning Provisions are just that, only a DRAFT: they can be challenged, changed and amended. Post No 8 (Bob Hawkins) correctly suggests apathy is not the best strategy.

    The representations will be judged by the Tasmanian Planning Commission, which will hold the hearings. But the Tasmanian Planning Commission may not have the capacity to deal with a flood of genuine representations which support argument and position with reasons, especially were people to argue any diminishment of rights and also the system’s capacity for involvement, especially in relation to the Schedule 1 objectives of LUPAA and the RMPS. It remains to be seen whether, with all the budget cuts they have sustained recently under the Liberals, they will be able to deal with the likely flood of genuine representations raising their concerns in the State provisions context.

    Whether you consider that the Tasmanian Planning Commission is an independent adjudicator when it has clearly been a behind the scenes partner in designing the new Provisions is an important issue in itself in my view.

    After the DRAFT State Planning Provisions is finalised, that is, after everyone’s representation has gone through the hearing process (an inquisitorial one not adversarial system) then the local component of the scheme, Local Provisions that is, for each Municipality will be created and that component of each Municipalities so called Tasmanian Planning Scheme will go out for comment as a DRAFT and the hearing process will go again.

    Currently Tasmania only has one old planning scheme: Flinders Municipality, all the rest are recently created Interim Planning Schemes which in a fit of stupidity, the Liberals terminated all rights for their finalisation. So the recently created (2013 to 2016) 28 Interim Schemes will remain until the 28 Local Government Planning Authorities are forced to accept the Tasmanian Planning Scheme. It is all very heavy handed. Genghis Kahn would be proud of such behaviour.

    The DRAFT State Planning Provisions doubtless have many, many problems across the many zones and provisions, not the ones mentioned by Ms Harrison and Mr Vincent.

    Some zones are completely unrecognizable from their previous zone and their zone intent.

    The intended removal of desired future character statements is a major failing as it would make it much harder to preserve your local amenity. The reduction in appeal rights and the massive exemptions for such contentious issues as forestry are all reasons for making a submission to the DRAFT document. I cannot see any reason for exemptions. It is Tasmanian Planning’s Virgin Islands moment.

  9. Simon Warriner

    April 15, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    re 11, Dave, I have no idea, I am asking what that extract from the policy actually means. As it stands it does not state a limit, or state how a limit might be arrived at.

    If you think I am wrong, by all means feel free to explain how i am wrong and where my error in interpretation lies. You might do that by pointing me to a discrete clause elsewhere in the document that states the height limit in the general residential Zone, if one exists. If it does, then why did the drafters of the document include or mention it in the Clause I quoted?

  10. Andrew Ricketts

    April 15, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Additionally the Codes in some cases have been subject to a massive change. Note in particular the LP3.11 Bushfire-Prone Areas Code which is vastly changed. This is in fact subject to a separate comment period, again advertised on the TPC website. Note that much of the old Code has been transferred to the Building Regulations. So right now you are meant to be doing two things at the one time. Obviously simpler, any fool can see that.

    It is indeed abundantly clear, as Sheridan (post # 10) that a 60 day comment period for such a vast amount of inadequate material which is not underpinned by a set of State Polices (as were actually promised by the Liberals) makes the task of expressing ones local concerns in Statewide terms very difficult. How can one trust politicians who promise something to get elected and then in essence weasel out of it.

    The select coterie people who created the new DRAFT State Planning Provisions went through several iterations and it took many, many months and further, these were people ostensibly with planning expertise, so to give the public just 60 days to make comment is nothing short of offensive tokenism.

    The truth is there are issues and shortcomings with the current Interim Planning Schemes but very few are being fixed by the DRAFT State Planning Provisions. Indeed there are now many more shortcomings and a dumbing down of land use planning, despite the added complexity and volume. One of the architects of the DRAFT State Planning Provisions, Brian Risby is on the record claiming the Interim Schemes fixed most of the old problems.

    There is little doubt that in the DRAFT State Planning Provisions, the Property Council is getting their agenda up, between Ms Massina and Mr Wightman. Note how little political concern is being expressed over the DRAFT State Planning Provisions by the opposition parties.

    Rest assured, if you live in any part of Tasmania and plan to continue to do so, the DRAFT State Planning Provisions will affect you and will directly harm your ability to defend your local area.

  11. Bob Hawkins

    April 14, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    #7 It’s all so simple: if a country is willing to allow us, as Australians, to buy title to its land, so should Australia allow citizens of that country to buy title to land here. That’s not how it is with China, and I think it’s the same with Japan and many other nations. But your “greedy” tag on Chinese investors is a bit strong. My experience of business with Chinese, individuals and companies, is that they drive a hard bargain — but then they stick to it. To digress, I recall Labor’s Reginald Francis Xavier (Rex) Connor, a true Australian patriot, trying to “buy back the farm” in the 1970s. It would have cost about $4 billion in those days. Would the Liberals have a bar of it? Not likely. They branded this Australian hero a crook.

  12. Dave Parsell

    April 14, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    #2 – you really think that there will be no limit to the no. of storeys in the General Residential Zone!?

  13. Gwenda Sheridan

    April 14, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    The Planning Information Network is correct in my opinion, ditto,#2 and others. As I see it, at the heart of, and hidden in the ether, unexplained, is a total vacuum of policy to the fairer, faster, cheaper, simpler, sound bite. Why does Tasmania urgently, ever so urgently, need a projected planning “reform” change from twenty nine (29) planning schemes to one (1) (in a time line of 14 months)? Having spent 50 years of my working life in land management (or related), Mr Gutwein, doesn’t planning “reform” of this magnitude start at the beginning of the planning process, rather than at its end (concentration on regulation/use/standards)?

    Is such a monumental change really necessary? Wouldn’t it have been an excellent idea to have taken the Broad Church Tasmanian Community along in the “reform” process? So that Tasmanians understood and came to “own” the end result of change rather than simply being presented with a fait-accompli? After all we all live here, so change; the how, what, where, and when of the change, will be felt by everyone won’t it? Where is the transparency? And the accountability? Please don’t tell me there has been wide consultation. You might be aware that when the very liveable City of Vancouver (British Columbia) came to do “reform” of its city plan and the region, over 80,000 persons felt they had contributed in some way to the end result. Now there’s real “consultation.”

    An added point. The date of the 18 May to put comments to the Tasmanian Planning Commission has to be changed to a date in 2017, a whole year hence. There has to be procedural fairness for the community if you take my point.

    Gwenda Sheridan.

  14. Trish Kyne

    April 14, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    From my experience in another state it always comes down to money, and who believes they deserve the most. It costs money to put the right infrastructure in to support new communities. It costs money to ‘allow’ a family to have their own space and play area for children.

    There was an experiment that scattered state housing in up-market suburbs. The social perspective was that these ‘poor unfortunates’ would be able to learn from their ‘betters’. The state housing families could not afford the local schools or shops and were ostracized. The up-market home owners complained about drunken brawls, car wrecks on the verges and weeds instead of gardens.
    There was also the suburb where houses were built with eaves almost touching and pocket sized back yards. Low dividing fences to encourage ‘friendships’ and a better ‘sense of community’. This came with native park lands to encourage the children to get out and play together.
    Domestic violence became a street affair, with frequent visits by police and ambulances. Burglary was rife as access and visibility from house to house was so enhanced by low structures that required very little skill to scale – and then there was the native park land to disappear in……….
    Then it was decided that in new sub divisions, once the ‘average’ person had built their dream homes, the vacant blocks would have a standard state house box placed on it for a family. The ‘lucky’ family was forever marked as ‘undeserving’ and suffered the social consequence of government mishandling.
    Then there was the suburb planned to have 35,000 residents housed in an area with – ONE – access road into the estate, and a pine forest at its rear. The initial stages were built without any infrastructure. Buses were infrequent and the routes were in and out of the city. None of them crossed suburbs. The ‘bread winner’ had the only vehicle and the family was stranded all day. To enable the maximum amount of houses, the streets were long winding affairs with numerous round-a-bouts. Emergency vehicles were unable to get through and had to drive across the round-a-bouts. This is an ongoing disaster.
    Tasmania has many picturesque views. Multistorey buildings are about keeping the infrastructure in one place; creating boxes like beehives, and charging outrageous prices for the privilege of the view, while filling the developer’s pockets.
    If Hobart is to become a clone of other cities with a multitude of high rise buildings, all glass and steel, there is no point of difference from other such cities. So what is the point of living there?
    Think long and hard about what you want and the options. And Have Your Say. Otherwise, you live with the consequences.

  15. Bob Hawkins

    April 14, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Apathy ensures corruption. Absolute apathy ensures absolute corruption. Keep realtors and developers out of government at all levels. That, at least, would force them to work harder to attain their destructive ends.

  16. Claire Gilmour

    April 14, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Planning rule changes are not being done for Tasmania’s residents and businesses, they are being done for ‘selling off the farm’ to Chinese investors.

    When these investors demand the government to jump for their own peoples health and economic and environmental well being, perhaps then the Tasmanian government will see the light!

    But seeing as Tasmania, indeed Australia is just being used as ‘rock hop’ by short changing greedy Chinese investors, then in all likelihood expect the quality of life for Tasmanian residents to steadily decrease as our government panders to selling it all … even your football …!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-15/port-adelaide's-chinese-investor-eyes-kidman-land-deal/7328458

  17. oh-owe

    April 14, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I spent an extended time in China last year, and was fascinated by Chinese people complaining that “all Chinese cities look the same”. No planning system and highest ROI to those with power.

    It seems our political mandarins seek to emulate their Chinese cousins

  18. TV Resident

    April 14, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Corruption in the making!!!! It appears that the loonies in gov’t are willing to sacrifice ALL things we hold dear and tourists flock to see for the sake of a pile of money that they can’t take with them. PURE GREED on developers part and also ALL levels of gov’ts part.

  19. Treeger

    April 14, 2016 at 2:09 am

    Odd, eccentric, peculiar and unique are ways to describe Hobart. These are the intrinsic qualities that make it attractive. Blindly copying what some Tassie ex-pats may have seen elsewhere will condemn Hobart to a generic 3rd rate version of other Australian suburbias on the mainland. The real killing of the goose that lays the golden eggs. Cutting their nose off to spite their face seems to be a particularly Tasmanian trait born from insularity and some sort of fear of the “other”.

  20. john hayward

    April 14, 2016 at 1:29 am

    The TPS is firmly based on Tasmania’s ancestral principle – at least since settlement – avarice. This principle has withstood every advance from Greece’s Golden Age, through the Renaissance and Enlightenment, to the rule of Abetz, where it has finally been embraced without reservation.

    If you don’t like it, follow Thuggo’s advice and get out!

    John Hayward

  21. Simon Warriner

    April 13, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    re this:

    1. In the General Residential zone (a very large part of suburban Hobart and other Tasmanian cities), dwellings and units up to twice the height and density of surrounding buildings will be classified as “no permit required”. These buildings will be able to be built without any notice to neighbours or opportunity to comment on how it will affect the character of their area. –

    I could be being obtuse but this reads as allowing for an exponential increase in building height with no upper limit over a series of developments. 1 story original building, two story built next , then four, then eight, then sixteen and on it goes. Where does it stop?

    Not really planning, more like open slather. Neo liberal idealism at its very best.

    I wonder what size donation that took to buy?

  22. John Hawkins

    April 13, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Why would you delist a large proportion of Tasmania’s Heritage listed buildings?

    What right has been given to our political masters to remove planning permission over buildings in residential areas when doubling the height limit.

    Why put planning into the hands of the few who you as a government can appoint and dismiss rather than those we elect. It is a recipe for political corruption.

    It is expensive to buy a majority in a 12 person council; much cheaper a Planning Commissioner.

    The Liberals are doing this to enrich their mates.

    All male mates at that.

    It is a crooked world in this small inward-looking island.

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