The Issue

Councils work closely with their local areas and manage development,  to deliver liveable communities now and into the future.

Tasmania’s Resource Management and Planning System (RMPS) has been around for many years now, and since it was introduced in the early 1990s it has served us well.  At its core it has a set of objectives which have been central to our way of life and the strong economy Tasmania has enjoyed.  These objectives include sustainable development of our natural and physical resources, public involvement in resource management and planning, facilitating economic development in accordance with these objectives, and importantly, the sharing of responsibility for resource management and planning between the different spheres of government, the community and industry.

However, successive State Government’s have failed to maintain the important strategic aspects of our planning system, with too greater a focus on regulation, involving initiatives such as the Statewide Planning Scheme and the more recent red tape reduction agenda.

Local Government supports a process of continuous improvement in our planning and development system.  However, the constant narrative of “reducing red tape” undermines the important role our regulatory approvals systems provides to the Tasmanian economy and risks damaging community confidence in it.

‘Red tape’ is not (nor should it be) the defining characteristic of our planning system and not all regulation is red tape.

Did you know?

Exceeding Application Timeframes

Tasmanian councils are on average determining development applications well within the statutory timeframes of 28 days for permitted developments and 42 days for discretionary developments.

Outperforming Other States

Tasmanian development assessment timeframes are one of the best in the country, with Victoria being 70 days, NSW 84 days, WA 60 or 90 days, SA 8 weeks or 12 for subdivision and QLD 40 business days.

Local Community Voice

Council strategic planning processes ensure the needs of local communities and key stakeholders are taken into account.

How LGAT is advocating for our Members

For many years now LGAT has been calling on the Government to establish the important strategic foundations of our planning system, the Tasmanian Planning Policies.  These, and the urgently needed updating of our Regional Land Use Strategies, will provide the missing clarity on what governments and the community desire for their local areas and importantly will help to drive any reforms needed in our regulatory system to achieve this.  Until we know what direction we wish to head in, it is very difficult to craft meaningful changes in the regulatory environment or indeed for our councils to make the day to day decisions they must on development applications.

Next steps

LGAT will continue to advocate for the State Government to develop the important  strategic foundations for our planning system instead of instigating ‘red tape reductions’ and band-aid adjustments to the regulatory environment. Until this happens, Tasmania will continue to experience the conflict we see with many development proposals.

As a state we need to have a discussion about our aspirations for each of our local areas in a proactive and constructive fashion, and not in the reactive, and often highly emotive fashion we currently experience when specific development proposals loom large.  This is good planning.

Our planning approvals system must be a shared responsibility, with any improvements developed in partnership across government, industry and the community for the benefit of us all.

View recent reports, submissions, and other advocacy documents relating to planning here:

LUPPA Amendments Submission 2020 

Opinion Editorial on Red Tape (June 2020)

Review of the Strata Title Act Submission 2020

Major Projects Legislation Submission 2020

For all LGAT Submissions please click here