The Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania (PMAT) has been awarded the annual “Planning Champion” award at the Planning Institute of Australia’s Tasmanian awards in November. This award recognises non-planners for their advocacy or for making a significant contribution and lasting presence to the urban and regional environment.

PMAT is a growing network of community groups working to achieve an independent planning system in Tasmania that is strategic, sustainable, integrated and transparent for all. It was established in 2016 in response to concerns about Tasmania’s new Statewide Planning Scheme and a watering-down of protections and community engagement. PMAT has highlighted issues such as fast-track land rezoning at Huntingfield, the privatisation of public assets like the Treasury Building and national parks and the opaque Expressions of Interest and Reserve Activity Assessment processes. PMAT is also campaigning for better residential standards in our cities, towns and villages.

“Land use planning is a complex issue that impacts every inch of Tasmania. It is fundamental to our way of life and the future of the state we will be living in,” said PMAT state coordinator Sophie Underwood. “As the world becomes more enamoured with Tasmania and the special home we still have, it’s vital we get planning right.”

“Our members are community groups from across the state with a diverse spectrum of interests, issues and political views. This award is vindication of their concerns and validation of their efforts.

“Planning must be robust, transparent and fair but we’re seeing the Tasmanian system slide in the wrong direction. This will lead to perverse outcomes, inappropriate development and conflict across the community as people are shut out of decisions that affect their future.

“PMAT is 100% funded by donations and largely volunteer driven so we’re immensely proud of this award and what we’ve achieved in Tasmania. it gives us strength to continue.”

PMAT will now go into the national awards, which will be announced in May 2020.