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

The Decline and Fall of RMPAT: Tribunal loses its teeth

*Pic: Image from here

First published December 9

Have you had an inappropriate development approved in your street? Do you realise that the loss of your view, light or airflow is now considered irrelevant to planning authorities? Developments, which maximise profit at the expense of neighbours’ amenities, are now festering like un-lanced boils across many suburbs and town in Tasmania.

As many Tasmanians will now be aware, the State Government is in the process of implementing new, contentious, standardised planning legislation designed, supposedly, to make development applications …“fairer, faster, cheaper and simpler”. The Government mantra does not state for whom the new State-wide planning scheme will be …“fairer, faster, cheaper and simpler”, but it is not hard to work out that the developer will be in the driver’s seat from now on.

Previously, Tasmania had one of Australia’s fairest planning systems, which provided checks and balances against inappropriate development, and which gave individual right of appeals. For instance, in 1993, the Tasmanian Government introduced a suite of legislation as part of a framework called the Resource Management and Planning System [RMPS].

The objectives of the RMPS were:-

• to promote the sustainable development of natural and physical resources and the maintenance of ecological processes and genetic diversity
• to provide for the fair, orderly and sustainable use and development of air, land and water
• to encourage public involvement in resource management and planning
• to facilitate economic development in accordance with the objectives set out in the above paragraphs
• to promote the sharing of responsibility for resource management and planning between the different spheres of government, the community and industry in the State

Of the various elements of the RMPS, the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal [RMPAT] is the independent statutory body tasked with hearing appeals provided under a range of Acts, including the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act, 1994 [EMPCA], which covers the primary environment protection legislation in Tasmania, and the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act [LUPAA], which covers such matters as planning schemes, regional strategies and planning directives.

With the departure of the current Chairman of the Resource Planning and Appeal Tribunal (RMPAT), perhaps it is an opportune moment to examine this arm of the planning process.

When it was set up, the RMPAT was heralded as a non-legalistic forum where “Average Joe” was encouraged to become involved in resource management planning issues. If a landowner had a development issue – possibly affecting his own property or that of neighbouring properties – he or she were able to bring the matter to the attention of the Tribunal in the hope of having the matter arbitrated fairly, speedily and cheaply.

The process was heard by a panel of experts in planning in a non-threatening, non- confrontational environment, in which recourse to lawyers was rare. To encourage community participation in the process – one of the objectives of the RMPS – fees to lodge objections to contentious development applications were held low, and the Tribunal Chairman endeavoured to make proceedings as stress-free as practicable. Thus, the average man in the street was not over-awed by the process; it was as unlike a court setting as could be achieved, within the constraints of the Tribunal’s stated objectives.

Initially, legal or expert witness was not required or kept to a minimum, again to keep the process financially within the grasp of everyone. However, over the years, these laudatory objectives of the Tribunal have been high-jacked by the legal profession. Today, appeals to the Tribunal are an expensive legal undertaking, where costs of upwards of $4,000 per day – to retain barristers and expert witnesses – are not uncommon.

Tasmania, in the 1990s, had a planning process which had a democratic structure; it was a model much-admired by other States. It may have been somewhat unwieldy to administer, but, at least, it could not be accused of representing only “the big end of town”. Gradually, over the years, yet another avenue for public participation in the planning process has been subverted to vested interests, and this Tribunal – once admired and respected – has been subtly subsumed into the government-of-the-day’s long-term economic agenda. The decisions of this Tribunal have become increasingly capricious and out of touch with reality. Its hearing’s are redolent of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

Given the State Government’s highly unpopular push to swing the planning pendulum in favour of developers – its so-called …“fairer, faster, cheaper and simpler planning system” – the democratic ideals of former days are fading fast.

As one of the last forums available the Public to be involved in the planning process in Tasmania, we have a right to expect that the original objectives of the Resource Management and Appeal Tribunal are upheld and, in fact, strengthened to counterweigh the influence of big business. I fear that the only way this will occur is if the RMPAT is eviscerated, and a new democratic structure raised in its place, possibly completely divorced from the recently introduced Tasmanian Planning Scheme.

David Halse-Rogers is a former educational psychologist and heritage conservation consultant. He is the Honorary Secretary of The South Hobart Progress Association.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Lyndall Rowley

    December 8, 2017 at 9:40 am

    You describe the situation so well, David – I feel your pain and share your concerns. The similar VCAT system in Victoria always seems to side with the developers, is often filled with barristers for the proponents, and the community people fighting those developments are seriously disadvantaged.

    Just like the other development-promoting credo “cutting the red and green tape”, we can be sure it’s not for us “Average Joe” types in the community; and you can bet the environment is being cut out of development considerations altogether. This is exactly designed for the developers to make it “unilaterally quicker, easier, cheaper” to do what they want and it makes it unfairer for everyone else.

    The “big end of town” certainly seems to be getting the favoured ear from our politicians and local governments who are all keen to promote endless growth and development based on the out-dated and flawed economic philosophy of neoliberalism.

    I’m sorry I can’t help, nor can I make any practical suggestions to prevent what you see is coming for RMPAT and the consequent flow-on effects. That is, except for this long-shot: there is a Tasmanian State Election coming up early next year and the polls are showing that the major parties are losing popularity.

    Now would be the opportune time to get more Independents and small parties into government to hold the balance of power and create a real change. Candidates standing on the platform for a fairer system i.e. for the benefit of the whole community, as well as standing for more genuine sustainable land-use planning (ecoing the principles of the RMPS) and more liveable neighbourhoods and communities, would win many votes I’m sure.

    You are articulate and knowledgeable, your article shows that you think rationally, and you are passionate about the community. Perhaps you or some of your like-minded colleagues at the South Hobart Progress Association might consider standing for state election next year?

  2. Ivo Edwards

    December 8, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Thank you for this important article, David. I had never heard of RMPAT until recently, but now consider myself a bit of an expert, and endorse every critical sentence you have written!

    My problems began with my appeal against the Derwent Valley Council (DVC) approval of the Maydena Limestone Quarry project recently. (we are just 320 metres across Gordon River Rd from the actual blasting site). I paid my $320 to RMPAT and appealed the decision, using Practise Direction 2.14 as my guideline basis – “Parties cannot raise any issue they wish. The Tribunal is restricted, as a matter of law, to consider only those matters which are made relevant by legislation”.

    I would have thought that “made relevant by legislation” was a pretty broad definition but no, my initial appeal protesting grounds that the EPA improperly assisted the quarry proponents in their application and that the DVC erred in claiming that it had no power to add to EPA approval conditions, were struck down as beyond the powers of RMPAT to consider.

    You mention that legal costs involved with a RMPAT appeal can be expensive. They sure can! I was quoted in the order of $20,000 from a planning lawyer ($530 per hr including GST) for a basic appeal on grounds that the quarry would not comply with Quarry Code of Practise guidelines. I started to represent myself as you mentioned was the way the appeal tribunal was initially structured, but apparently there are well established protocols for wording appeals these days which only lawyers are familiar with. Hence I had to revise my appeal grounds 2 times even to get accepted as an appellant.

    After an initial meeting of the Tribunal and a “mediation” meeting it was apparent that my appeal was unlikely to succeed and that I would be liable for all legal costs of the DVC and the quarry proponents (probably a total of $50,000 or so?) My case was not helped by the quarry proponents and DVC falsely claiming that I was illegally living in my own house of 24 years. I had no way of defending that charge within the 90 days allowed for an RPAMP appeal decision.

  3. John Biggs

    December 8, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Amazingly, RMPAT was introduced during the Liberal Groom Government. Current Libs have sold out to their developer mates. Well, let’s bring in a Labor-Green govt (despite what Rebecca says) and right this terrible wrong. David is spot on in his analysis.

    The Mercury editorial recently saying that a hung parliament would be a disaster as was the previous Labor Green government playing to that Australian myth that the only proper government is a majority government. What that means is serial one-party government which is anti-democracy.

    Power sharing worked under Gillard under the most horrendous conditions, bringing about more good legislation than almost any other Australian Government. The Tasmanian power sharing government with Giddings and Greens did quite well until Giddings panicked, but at least they solved the forestry-environmental conflict which majority Liberals under faux macho Hodgman promptly ripped and took us back to the bad old days. Likewise The Field-Green government did well until Field reneged on his side of the bargain.

    Most European, especially Scandinavian governments, are power-sharing and they do a bloody sight better than our winner-takes-all style of governing.

    Sorry I’m a bit off your track David, but I think the cure to the issues you raise is to render the greedy suckers-up-to-the-rich Liberals powerless. Labor needs controlling and I wouldn’t trust them too far on this, but with a Green halter around their necks they might do something positive for we ordinary Australians.

  4. john hayward

    December 8, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I was involved in an RMPAT action in 1998-2000 against their own-motion change of a forestry use on a couple of blocks in a rural residential zone zone from “prohibited” to “discretionary” without any of the mandatory public consultation. The changes would have effectively opened the entire zone to a rampant woodchipping/MIS industry.

    Openly assisted by the Forest Protection Society, RMPAT discarded both law and facts in finding for the loggers. The same expedient was used by the Tas SC, assisted by RMPAT’s counsel, Tim Ellis, in rejecting the appeal.

    While I fully share David H-R’s scepticism about the pending changes to the RMPS, I see a much greater continuing threat from a closed-loop political and PS culture which treats the law, procedural fairness, and morality with complete contempt, in my view.

    John Hayward

    (edited)

  5. Jon Sumby

    December 8, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    The fight to keep social community values in planning versus a quick buck for developers seems to be cyclical. Back in the 70s a planning scheme was set up but then eroded in the 80s, in the 90s it was renewed, but the developers seem to be winning back control once again.

    In 1977 the Neilson Labor government established the Department of Planning and Development, a State Planning Co-ordination Council, and a State Advisory Panel, but pro-development interests and local councils reasserted themselves after Neilson’s resignation in 1977, and the status quo returned. In 1993 the Groom Liberal government passed new town land-use planning legislation to broaden the Tasmanian conception of planning by linking it to economic development, strategic planning on a statewide level, and planning for the longer term, but environmental concerns have often been overridden.
    From- http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/T/Town(insert percent symbol20 here to make link work) planning.htm

  6. Philip Lowe

    December 8, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    frightening.The overall feel of this is that the law is being used,sorry,abused,to suit the requirements of builders and developers.As the island becomes more and more densely populated it will get worse.Nature and beauty will suffer,roads will spread like fungi spore.Come to think,it is/has already happened.This wonderful,beautiful planet suffers mankind as does an animal suffer irritating parasites.Overpopulation is the cause of most of our woes.

  7. Lyndall Rowley

    December 8, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Philip (#6) … Yes. But we’re far worse than simply irritating parasites; we’re destroying our host and taking just about everything else down with us.

    What right do we have to do that to other species and their habitats on this planet?

    I’m afraid I have to admit defeat. I can no longer be an optimist in the face of the evidence before me during my lifetime. Ultimately, I don’t think humans are capable of reigning in our population growth and ever-increasing unsustainable resource use and our impacts on natural habitats. We’re too interested in improving our (country’s) living standards and wealth, and chasing growth and development to support it.

  8. Mike Bolan

    December 9, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Good material Lyndall.

    I suggest an option is to form a community action coalition that helps people to achieve personal and community goals through knowledge and expertise.

    We’ve seen GetUp, MarketForces and Avaaz in action, so perhaps we should emulate their success and create a new knowledge force that puts the case for community to be more resilient and fights the community corner by whatever legal means it can … public opinion, law, marketing and whatever and builds powerful cases for community support when required. Any method that requires the support of the serried ranks of rent seeker in government is probably doomed at the outset.

  9. Robin Charles Halton

    December 9, 2017 at 12:49 am

    #3 Mr Biggs just to remind you that the power sharing government under Labor and the Greens essentially was a failure, in my view. The forest legislation at the time was a farce with financial bribes, leaving forestry with far less native forest resource especially to sustain native forest high quality NF sawlog supply for the future.

    Any fool knows some of the best silvicultural regeneration is locked up within “indefinite” reserves(the Liberals are attempting to unlock before it all gets burnt beyond redemption) or WHA.

    Get out and about and have an inspection of the Picton forests and those around Lake Gordon where growth rates are outstanding and resource would normally would have been ready for milling again as advanced regrowth in 30-50 years times.

    It rather surprises me that SST were expecting pruned stands of HWP to provide sufficient high quality sawlog for the future, it wont.
    FT/SST have actually delisted their planned HWP sawlog ambitions, relying on a wait and see game that will take decades>

    Returning much of the forests back to NF is becoming more obvious as HWP does not even make the grade for peeler logs yet it is fine for export woodchip.

    It is ridiculously serious that our younger public native forests are being stripped for peeler logs before optimum sawlog harvest is achieved.

    I support the HWP as an export commodity for at least it is being utilised drumming up business and keeping the forest industry alive.

    The TFA is full of flaws, the handing over of State forests management to Parks is so stupid.

    Your good friends the Greens are still grizzling about NF harvesting, the bastards will never be satisfied, their great supporter Lara Giddings has quit politics altogether over her downright stupidity by legislating the taking away of too much productive State Forest.

    If you ask around the traps the Greens are hated and I mean hated in many regional communities around Tasmania, Labor is not so much liked either for canoodling with the Greens either.

    (edited)

  10. Lyndall Rowley

    December 9, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Mike (#8) … I’m intrigued. But I’m not quite getting your strategy and I’d like you to flesh it out for me a bit more please. Maybe if you could use David’s RMPAT example to demonstrate your approach.

    Apart from that, I agree with you re GetUp and Avaaz. (I’m unfamiliar with MarketForces; I’ll check it out, tks). I suppose I don’t need to draw your attention to the federal Liberal Party’s ongoing attempts to obliterate GetUp one way or other? Eric Abetz seems to be the tireless champion for this cause. The latest I read about this can be found on TT: http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/pr-article/the-getup-clause-devised-to-attack-our-independence-/

    I am very angry about the Liberal Party trying to destroy GetUp. In my opinion, as a citizen of this great Australian democracy, I have every right to express myself in an organised manner and voluntarily participate in protest and community awareness platforms such as GetUp. The irony, I think, is that the Liberals are supposedly the champions of free speech. Isn’t GetUp simply another format to enable citizens to freely express what they think and feel by supporting (or not) any given petition? But obviously, in this case the Liberals are making an exception to their own guiding principles, and seek to apply undemocratic censorship (i.e. virtually, through various means) to any organised bodies who don’t toe the conservative party line.

    A recent Avaaz petition re the Paradise Papers was a wonderful example of how a simple online petition can harness the views of citizens like me from all around the world and collectively make us more powerful, and heard. The power of Avaaz petitions was obviously also not lost on ex-British PM Gordon Brown in this case, as he used this platform to gather support for his petition to the G20 to take urgent action to create “international agreement that outlaws tax havens and imposes penalties and prison sentences on tax evaders.” Gordon Brown only needed 1 million signatures to present this, and it was quickly exceeded within days. https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/paradise_papers_fb_ctrl/?bViqDjb&signup=1&cl=13459745940&v=99670

    Alone I am completely powerless and effectively voiceless (except for voting once every three years) whereas petition platforms like GetUp, Avaaz and others give me voice and power and they make an important contribution to a healthy working democracy – in my opinion, that is.

  11. Lyndall Rowley

    December 9, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Oh, and by the way Mike (#8) … I forgot to mention the other attractive power that I think petition platforms such as GetUp have in terms of contributing to a healthy working democracy: they allow people to express their view on a particular issue and to effectively vote accordingly.

    Whereas our only other opportunity to vote is during elections when, in this two-party preferred system, we are forced to effectively vote on warts-and-all omnibus-like Lib or Lab policy, having to take the bad or discordant along with any good. This muddies the democratic waters, imo, and doesn’t discriminate enough to drill down to what the people really think, feel or need, and what the politicians need to know.

    OK, you can relax, I’ll get off my mini platform now.

  12. John Biggs

    December 9, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    #11 … No Lyndall keep on your platform! You have made some excellent points.

    The two party system does indeed muddy the democratic waters. For one thing public opinion can longer be sorted into Labor and Liberal: that fitted better when it was workers against employers. Now things are much more complicated than that. But worse as I said above a two party system becomes in fact, between elections, a one party system and what happens then, especially in the last 4-5 elections is that on winning, the governing party overturns what the previous governing party of the opposite stripe has achieved. That is lunacy. You are also spot on in exposing those champions of free speech, the Liberals, in shutting down free speech when it suits them.

    The point about the two party system also explains what Robin (#9) says in referring to “hated” Greens. I suppose you (Robin) mean that in the context of forestry but hey, didn’t the forestry industry AGREE to the peace deal? More generally the Greens are hated because they are real threat to the cosy two party system that in itself has become so dysfunctional in today’s context,

    An excellent article with an excellent thread.

  13. Sophie Underwood

    December 9, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Great article thank you David. That’s why we have formed the Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania (PMAT: https://www.planningmatterstas.org.au/). The alliance includes a growing network of over 50 community groups from across Tasmania who is campaigning for a strategic, integrated and sustainable planning system. Check out PMAT’s platform on PMAT’s website. The South Hobart Progress Association is one of the alliance’s 53 groups. We need a balanced planning system which serves the community and not just developers. The proposed Tasmanian Planning Schmeme will put at risk all the special values which makes Tasmania such a wonderful place to live and visit. The proposed system will also decrease appeal rights, essentially removing our ability to shape our future. The proposed statewide scheme may deliver jobs and growth but it will be at the cost of everything else.

  14. Gwenda Sheridan

    December 9, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Back to the issue: David, I’m really pleased you have brought this matter to public attention. There are to my mind no third party appeal rights now for ordinary citizens in Tasmania. That goes against everything in the planning lexicon. It has become a critical fairness matter for all Tasmanians. It goes against other state jurisdictions and what the Productivity Commission 2011 outlined.

    Mine is a personal experience which went before RMPAT in 2016. The matter was the proposed scale of development at the rear of my property. Developers went for maximum gain for maximum profit; a mere 35-40 potential building increase (up to 4,000% density increase) to replace the one house there previously. The land contained over 85 trees, (several old growth, had a Council biodiversity overlay, habitat issues etc.) a single house basically on an internal block.

    This cannot be easily dismissed as ‘fake news’, or as a NIMBY problem. Biodiversity issues, geological/geomorphic/soil/slope issues, amenity and loss of character issues, the matter of Crown Land Services having to give access permission over what could not be fully determined to be Crown Land and more.

    It cost $319 to lodge an appeal at RMPAT. There is now a 90 day turn around as I understand it, that is any appeal can only take 90 days; this includes the time period that RMPAT Commissioners would take to make their decision. I engaged a barrister; there were 21 grounds of appeal re Council’s decision. The matter went to mediation. It was clear to me that the other side were not going to budge a millimetre. To mediation the cost was $9,500. We were told that “experts” would be needed despite the fact I’ve been in planning, heritage, land use for around 50 years of my professional life and taught some of the pertinent issues at University. There would not have been time for “experts” to have fully investigated the case in question, given the timing of the Tribunal. I was told a final cost could be $50,000.

    The 21 Grounds of Appeal were never tested as a consequence.
    Gwenda Sheridan

  15. Lyndall Rowley

    December 10, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Gwenda, #13 &#14 .. Your experience of the planning processes for the development at the rear of your property is like a horror story. Just terrible. This is so wrong in so many ways it’s hard to know where to start. But one initial reaction was to question why the council would approve such development seemingly in contradiction of its own objectives and protective overlays.

    But that’s just silly of me, isn’t it? I’ve seen these types of outcomes innumerable times in central Victoria. The zoning and the mentality of and within council always rules. I won’t get into other possible influencing factors such as the very matey relationships that are naturally formed over years between council officers and developers, consultant land surveyors etc. for example the hand-delivered boxes of wine being shared around in the planning department and/or annual attendances at Xmas parties are a good indication to go by..

    I have nothing to suggest that you wouldn’t have already tried or know about but even so, it might be worth mentioning something here anyway. Both you and David are already associated, from what you say, through PMAT, and 53 groups is a very powerful alliance of concerned citizens. So based on this I’m going to suggest you consider this two-pronged approach:

    1. Short-term and educational: Start a petition outlining the flaws in RMPAT and its resultant effects – because many people might not be aware of this at all. Then outline your (and David’s) list of solutions & improvements to the system. The petition would be delivered to the relevant planning minister and Premier.

    GetUp hosts a community platform which might suit this purpose: https://www.communityrun.org/

    2. Medium to long-term strategy: Your PMAT membership could perhaps be the source of some strong-minded people who would be willing to stand as Independents (or your own small party?) in next year’s state election. Ultimately, the changes you consider are necessary have to be addressed at the state level to apply to all planning schemes – otherwise it’s just Groundhog Day for the planning future I’m afraid.

    http://www.aec.gov.au/Elections/candidates/overview.htm

  16. Piet Schouten

    December 11, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Good article and good point about the tribunal and process being hijacked by the legal profession.

    The rot set in long before there was any legislative change – simply by the choice of chairman! The earlier (first?) chairman was a non-legalistic lawyer who took seriously the injunction in the Act to have the tribunal inform itself in such manner as it decided and give that information such weight as it considered appropriate.

    A subsequent chairman took a very legalistic approach and a very clear preference for expert opinion. This soon necessitated having a planning expert as witness and, of course, a lawyer to elicit the expert’s evidence in the most beneficial way for the client.

  17. Lea Robertson

    December 11, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    I am currently involved in a planning dispute in the RMPAT in an attempt to prevent a neighbour who holds land on 3 sides of my house building 75% of my boundary in with 5.6 m high buildings.

    So far cost have exceeded $17,000 and we still have not even got to hearing as the developer is employing every strategy in the book to try and bleed us dry financially so that we give up. We’re not, but gee it hurts that as landholders we are having to do the job that council should have done.

  18. Andrew Ricketts

    December 12, 2017 at 1:05 am

    Land Use Planning in Tasmania is based only in part around the Resource Management Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS) however there are significant land use activities, which irrationally sit outside of that RMPS but nonetheless interface with it, often in a poor fashion. So, in essence, there is no cohesive land use planning system in Tasmania.

    This massive shortcoming not only disadvantages the public but is unfortunate for those industries, which gain less public and neighbour acceptance than they might if fairer provisions existed. Those land uses, mainly (but not fully) outside of the RMPS include: Forestry (whose 1985 Act predates the RMPS), Marine Farming, Dam approvals and Mining.

    I disagree that the problems of the RMPS, as now modified by the Liberals under the influence of the Property Council, can be laid at the feet of the Tribunal, being the RMPAT, which is but one small part of the system.

    For example, when a new DRAFT Local Planning Provisions Schedule (LPPS), within the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, is created by a Planning Authority (A Council), it then goes to the Tasmanian Planning Commission, which will advise the Minister (ostensibly to make sure it meets the Commissions own Guidelines (Guideline No 1 of May 2017), as well as meeting the relevant Regional Land Use Strategy) (which Gutwein wishes to trash). Then the LPPS goes to Minister Gutwein for approval. Then the Draft TPS (the LPPS and the SPP) for the Municipality is released for 60 days of public comment. The citizen or other stakeholder can make a representation. This process may be free of costs but there are limits to what can be commented upon because the State Planning Provisions (SPP) have already been resolved by a combination of the Tasmanian Planning Commission (TPC) which held a public hearing and the Minister (who ignored some of the advice of the TPC). Much of any Scheme under the TPS will be those SPPs. This will be enormously confusing to the Tasmanian public and will be frustrating and inefficient.

    The SPP are, in many instances, not reflective of a sound set of State Policies which the Liberals promised but failed to create. These principles and policies are necessary for legitimate sound decisions which need to be made in a land use planning context.

    There is no competent Policy arm of Government, and no State Planning Department. Deeply sad, indeed pathetic! The current SPP actually need a complete review certainly once a suite of State Polices are created.

    A representation to your Council’s LPPS is made to that Planning Authority (the Council) who wrote those same LPPS. Council writes a report, but then your representation (and Coucil’s report) is also considered within a hearing process organised by that very same Tasmanian Planning Commission which has also had its fingers in the pie all along. The TPC hears submissions over a scheme it has in essence already ratified. This multiply conflicted situation needs reform.

    Legislation within the RMPS contains many Acts and those Acts have several ministers. The situation is: The Planning Minister oversees the main act: LUPAA. However: The Premier oversees the State Policies and Projects Act, a key part of the RMPS, The Minister for the Environment oversees the Threatened Species Act and Nature Conservation Act and The Minister for Parks the Parks and Wildlife Act. The list of Acts encompassed by the RMPS is extensive. Some parts of the system function and are mature and others are seemingly viewed as an annoyance. Yet in all of that some land uses remain exempt at every turn, which can only be considered to be arcane nonsense.

    Tasmania should create one planning system for Tasmania, which is properly integrated. The RMPS is not meant to be an open slather family of legislation. The ‘window dressing’ Schedule 1 Objectives suggest sustainability, yet the Liberals have attempted to remove as many public interest constraints to growth as possible. These significant problems need to be reformed by any replacement Government.

    Continued on Next Post …

  19. Andrew Ricketts

    December 12, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Continued from Previous Post …

    Clearly, in this Tasmanian Planning Scheme process, the dubious (development favouring) result has been driven by the desires of the Tasmanian Property Council. The Liberals and its pet Planning Reform Taskforce failed to adequately consult the broader community, preferring a clandestine consultation with a few vested interests. The power of vested interests, such as represented by the Property Council, is concerning and has obviously achieved a disproportionate level of influence under the Liberals.

    Regarding the long-term public interests, that is the interests of all including future generations – these are represented by the RMPS Objectives, if only they were a genuine foundation of the planning system.

    The Planning Reform Taskforce, which designed the TPS and the SPP, was intended to fail to have a broad membership and has not been inclusive.

    The membership of the Planning Reform Taskforce, remains highly oriented to development at the expense of community interests. The public interest, including the environment, has obviously been sidelined, a situation, both deeply unacceptable and unreasonable.

    The Land Use Planning System of Tasmania, including those elements outside of the RMPS and ad hoc rubbish, such as the Planning Reform Taskforce, now urgently needs a well-designed Royal Commission of Inquiry.

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