Tasmania is at a crossroads, its environment and way of life under unprecedented threat from big development interests lured here by the Liberals’ ‘open for business’ mantra and willingness to keep Tasmanians in the dark.
The return of Parliament coincides with both the Hobart City Council’s decision on the cable car tonight and the Town Hall meeting about the proposed Cambria Green development, and the future of Tasmania’s East Coast tomorrow.
In Parliament this week, we will move to affirm the priority that must be given to public participation and appeal rights in any development assessment and decision.
We will also move to reject the Liberals’ proposed Major Projects legislation, which would give private developers the tools to get around a proper planning assessment and seek a social licence. This legislation, put forward by the Liberals then hastily withdrawn after a public backlash before the State Election, is a recipe for corruption.
Cambria Green, the proposed cable car across the Organ Pipes of kunanyi and the opaque EOI process for development in protected areas are examples of the Liberals’ development-at-any-cost mindset and their determination to stifle public input into planning decisions.
Under the Liberals’, we have seen major changes to the planning system – and Tasmanians being shut out. Cambria Green, the cable car, Rosny Hill, the – now, fortunately dumped – Dover woodchip port are all examples where the promise of big money talks loudest and Tasmanians are being ignored.
If any major projects legislation were to be passed by the Tasmanian Parliament, it would give the Planning or State Growth Minister of the day extraordinary powers to call in developments like Cambria Green and the cable car proposal. It would give developers the red carpet treatment through the Minister’s office and enable them to have their proposals approved with a flourish of the Minister’s pen and without pesky public consultation.
If you have a good, robust, independent planning system, with full public participation and appeal rights, you end up with much better planning decisions being made, and developments that actually have a social licence.
It is critical that Parliament support the independence of Tasmania’s planning system, affirm the public’s appeal rights, and reject, absolutely, any move to introduce corrupting major projects legislation to Tasmania.
Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens’ Leader