Major Projects Information:
The Major Projects legislation would remove large projects from Council and have them assessed by a Development Assessment Panel (DAP). No good reasons for such a change have been provided.
There are numerous flaws with this legislation:
- the Major Projects Legislation gives total unrestrained, and excessive, power to the Minister for Planning to decide what developments are declared major projects. The Minister may remove any project from the normal planning process even if a project is opposed by the community, has been refused by council
- this is not an integrated planning process. The Development Assessment Panel (DAP) would co-ordinate approvals for development and make decisions based on criteria that do not demand analysis, or assessment of impacts, to neighbouring land uses or on the community or on the environment
- a decision is made before any public consultation. One cannot believe a panel would change its mind after giving a preliminary decision. The developments would be complex and the public is not given a reasonable time to assess the impact and make a submission after the decision is made
- projects only have to satisfy two of the criteria, which are very broad and would allow a project that would be of economic benefit, and considered too big for Council, to be accepted as a major project, even if it had significantly detrimental effects to the environment or community
- unlike the current process, this legislation shows no trust in the public engagement process. The amount of public consultation is greatly reduced and restricted
- no deputations allowed
- no appeal allowed (only to the Supreme Court on a point of law - so expensive as to be unavailable to most community members)
- it goes against the wishes of every local community's right to have a say
- it takes away the elected members' right to work for their community
- it replaces a trusted system with one that is undemocratic and open to abuse because developers, as we know, have access to politicians in a way that residents do not
- the legislation uses the acronym DAP to stand for 'Development Assessment Panel'. We say it stands for 'Developer Approvals Paradise'
- there is no guarantee that the DAP will be independent and there is no reason for it to replace the Commission
- DAP members are not required to have experience in assessing development applications, providing fair hearings, or granting approvals
- there is no requirement that any members of the DAP be members of the Commission.
- the DAP is not bound by the Tasmanian Planning Commission Code of Conduct
- the Tasmanian Planning Commission does not make the decision. The DAP does, totally independent of the Planning Commission
- the DAP members are not accountable to local residents. Elected members are, every 4 years.
If the major Projects legislation is passed into law, highrise towers could easily be fast-tracked, for example:
- the Welcome Stranger highrise tower;
- the Fragrance highrise towers in Collins, Davey, and Elizabeth Streets; and
- the New Town Private 'Hospital'.
None of these developments were approved under the current planning schemes. The Welcome Stranger highrise tower was recommended for refusal be the Urban Design Committee and the City's planning officers. It was then refused by Council and by the Appeals Tribunal. It could easily be approved under the proposed Major Projects legislation.
Residents will remember the recommendations that were developed from the Leigh Woolley Report. These were designed to protect Hobart's heritage, view-lines, and streetscapes, with absolute maximum height limits as just one of the mechanisms to provide this protection. They provide certainty to all involved in the planning process – owners, developers, architects, city planners, elected members, members of the public – thus simplifying, and speeding up, the planning process.
HnH does not agree that planning matters should be taken away from Council. We want to keep our right to appeal and be heard. We want clear guidelines for builders and planners regarding building heights and heritage protection. We want good legislation to protect developers and citizens.
The proposed legislation would give developers an industry-biased, undemocratic way of getting large projects approved. There are no guarantees that the assessment panels would be independent or have a good representative balance.
Public Consultation is severely limited and there is no appeal to RMPAT, the appeals tribunal.
For 'Frequently Asked Questions': Click 'HERE'