What is development control, and whose job is it?

Land use planning and development control, are a process of deciding on the rules for how we use and develop our land and then deciding on development proposals, i.e. what gets built and where.  The State creates our development control system and laws.  Councils apply those laws to development proposals in their community and may also develop some further details.  Councils assess nearly all development proposals in Tasmania.

Why is it needed?

When someone wants to build something, development control helps minimise possible negative effects on other members of the community.  For example if your neighbour wants to build a house which will take your sun and overlook your backyard, the development control process gives you some rights and helps control those impacts.

Nearly everybody likes 'good' development but a process is needed to make sure development occurs fairly and in the best interest of the community as a whole.  This includes, locals, visitors, business and investors.  Development control also provides a check that shared community resources, like a beach or bush land area, are developed in a way that is for the wider community good, as well being good for land developers and economic growth.

Development control minimises environmental and public health impacts too, for example by preventing a factory being built near homes and schools.  Development control enables communities to grow and change in a planned way, aligning development with the bigger picture long term plans for transport, housing and people.

What is the process?

For a simple development application like a house, planning and building assessment can be combined into the one streamlined process.  A council planning assessment checks that the proposed design can be built in the intended location under State laws.  A building assessment, checks that the drawings show the design will meet the Australia's building laws.

For more complex developments, like commercial developments and subdivision, councils may also have to check aspects of traffic, parking, plumbing, drainage, public health, environment, telecommunications, water, gas, sewer and so on.  Councils work with other government agencies, government business enterprises, and developers to perform development control work as required by State laws, including maximum time frames for making assessments.

Why is development control changing?

Development is a big part of the Australian economy.  All governments, including councils, want to maximise good growth and development.  From time to time laws need to change to keep development control working well.  Changes might be made to take advantage of new technology such as the online submission of development applications, or to tackle new environmental issues, such as climate change, or to enable new methods of regulation to be used.