You are here
Macquarie Point Development Corporation Amendment Bill 2018 - Second Reading
Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Madam Speaker, I thank Ms Dow
for her contribution and make the point that of those significant
questions you asked of the minister, Ms Dow, he did not make a record of
them as I can see.
Mr Gutwein - I understand that we are and I will do my best to address all
Ms O'CONNOR - Alright, I hope you were listening because the questions
were thoroughly valid.
Mr Gutwein - I was certainly listening and you would understand that I
would listen to a debate like this.
Ms O'CONNOR - You would hope so.
Mr Gutwein - You know me well enough.
Ms O'CONNOR - Madam Speaker, I rise to make a contribution on the
Macquarie Point Development Corporation Amendment Bill 2018, significant
legislation that landed on the table a bit over 48 hours ago. It is a
very substantial reset of the original master plan and the MONA vision,
significant legislation that hands the Minister for State Growth, not the
Minister for Planning, extraordinary powers to determine what happens on
that site in the future.
It is disappointing for people in Hobart, Greater Hobart and Tasmania to
have been so thoroughly shut out of this process at this point. The first
time any of the key stakeholders in the future of Macquarie Point, that is
the people of Tasmania, saw the revised master plan was in the Mercury
newspaper, which it was given to and splashed across on Tuesday, the same
day that we received this legislation. That is extremely poor process.
It is dismissive of the owners of that site, the people of Tasmania. It
is dismissive of good parliamentary practise. It provides what I regard
as unjustified and unprecedented powers to the Minister for State Growth
to develop planning principles for the site, decide for himself that they
are consistent with LUPA and then consult the Planning Commission.
The provisions in this legislation are all over the place. Clause 39H is
the clause that allows the minister to prepare proposed amendments.
Clause 39H states that -
The Minister, after receiving a request under section 39G(1) …
and that is a request from the corporation -
… containing a draft of proposed amendments to the relevant planning
scheme, must -
prepare the proposed amendments …
after consultation with the Board, prepare proposed amendments …
require the Board to amend …
The Minister must consult with the Planning Minister …
We have an in-house consultation on significant planning decisions that
are being made over the Macquarie Point site. The Minister for State
Growth and the Minister for Planning will consult on this public site.
They will decide everything is fine and the planning changes the Minister
for State Growth wants to make are absolutely fine. Then, after
consulting with Mr Jaensch, the minister needs to provide a notice of the
proposed amendments to -
the Board; and
the relevant planning scheme planning authority; and
each relevant statutory authority; and
any Agency that the Minister considers has an interest in the proposed
amendments to the relevant planning scheme.
Where are the people of Tasmania? Nowhere; they have been dismissed in
the development of the new master plan and dismissed in the development of
this legislation. You can sit there and roll your eyes at me but when we
have to deal with legislation that goes to some of the significant social
issues that impact on people's lives, like sorting out the Births, Deaths
and Marriages Act, we are told that needs to be consulted for six months.
When it comes to making money out of a public site there is no
consultation, we are given legislation for 48 hours, and a master plan is
developed without reference to the people. Do you think that is good
process? It is arrogant and dismissive process.
There is no requirement for consultation in clause 39H. It can go to the
Planning Authority. The Hobart City Council, which has been shut out of
this process to date, can look at it for 21 days. There is no requirement
for council to consult on it. Council may choose to consult on the
proposed amendment to the planning scheme but nothing in there gives
reference to the people and nothing considers the importance of having a
shared sense of ownership of the future of Macquarie Point.
We go to the staggering drunkonpower clause 39I, Approval of proposed
amendments to relevant planning scheme -
(1) The Minister, after considering all representations made under
section 39H(5), may -
approve proposed amendments ...
approve proposed amendments to the relevant planning scheme …
refuse to approve the proposed amendments …
I recall the debate we had in this place about the changes to the
statewide planning scheme and the extraordinary powers that were given to
the minister in that process. When we look at the proposed major projects
legislation, again, extraordinary powers are given to the minister. When
the statewide planning scheme provisions went through I pointed out that
Mr Gutwein sees himself as the 'planning overlord', giving himself such
extraordinary powers. He cannot help himself. He cannot let it go
because again we have Mr Gutwein giving himself the most extraordinary
powers in a different portfolio.
This is how backward the whole process is: the minister can consider and
dismiss the concerns of council or another statutory authority and he
approves his own proposed amendment but as soon as practicable after
approving the proposed amendment, then the minister goes to the Planning
Commission. What the minister provides to the commission is a copy of the
approval. He needs to explain to the commission in this provision how the
proposed amendments to the relevant planning scheme, and in this case at
this point in time it is the Sullivan's Cove Planning Scheme -
further the requirements of the objectives set out in Schedule 1 to the
Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993; and
is consistent with any applicable State Policy within the meaning of the
State Policies and Projects Act 1993; and
are, as far as practicable, consistent with the Southern Regional Land Use
Strategy made under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993; …
It gives a direction to the commission to make the proposed amendments to
the relevant planning scheme and publish in the manner that the commission
thinks fit a statement referred to in paragraph (c).
So the one power we give the Tasmanian Planning Commission in this process
is to make a decision about how it publishes the determination to amend
the Sullivan's Cove Planning Scheme. That is appalling planning process.
It has clearly come from a desire to take control of this site, to drive
it harder, but in the process the people with the most at stake in the
future of Macquarie Point, Aboriginal Tasmanians and non-Aboriginal
Tasmanians, are being utterly shut out and the independent planning
processes that test whether a proposed amendment is compliant with LUPAA
or the State Policies and Projects Act are turned on their head, because
the minister has already decided that the proposed amendment complies on
those three subclauses and he is just going to tell the Planning
Commission that it does. The Planning Commission has no power, none at
all, to reject the proposed amendment.
The Tasmanian Planning Commission is the independent expert and excellent
primary planning authority in Tasmania. Proposed amendments of this
nature should not be left in the hands of one minister who has a chat with
his mate across the Cabinet table and then bypasses any public
consultation to get the Planning Commission to rubber stamp it. That is
what we are talking about here. Mr O'Byrne might have a better recall of
this than I, but did the parliament create the Macquarie Point Development
Corporation in about 2012-13?
Mr O'Byrne - Yes.
Ms O'CONNOR - So Mac Point was created as a discrete entity in order to
guide the development of this site five or six years ago. There has been
ongoing public consultation and conversation about the future of Macquarie
Point, so why the unholy rush? Why shut out people at this point?
Dr Woodruff - They're waiting to hear from investors about what they want
to do there. They can't lead, they can't direct, they have no vision,
they have no plan. They haven't created anything.
Ms O'CONNOR - I totally take on board your point, Dr Woodruff, because as
the minister said, he may approve an amendment that allows for a building
which does not fit within the height constraints of the Hobart City
Council should they determine that there needs to be a ceiling on heights.
Mr Gutwein, the Minister for State Growth, can make a planning amendment,
for example, if Fragrance Group came along and said, 'We have this great
idea. Now that you've changed the masterplan from cultural precinct to
mixed commercial, we've got a really good off-the-books skyscraper that we
think would look fantastic just down there near the rail yards, and you've
got the power, minister, to help us, Fragrance, bring the modern world to
the city of Hobart. Could you please do that for us?', and there is
nothing in the amendments we are debating today that we can see would
prevent that from happening.
Because there is no public consultation on any aspect of the realisation
of the masterplan or whatever iteration of the masterplan there might end
up being, it is a flawed process because it is all a political stitch-up.
It is very frustrating to be in this place and to see legislation like
this come forward which is so dismissive of the fact that Mr Gutwein is
just passing through this place as the Minister for State Growth and Mr
Jaensch is just passing through as the Minister for Planning. You do not
own the Macquarie Point site. It is not yours to shape. It belongs to
the people of Tasmania. It belongs to Tasmanian Aboriginal people, who
will have a reconciliation park on the site but they have not been
consulted about this legislation either. There has been no consultation
with council, no consultation with the Tasmanian people, no consultation
with the Tasmanian Aboriginal people and this is a suite of extraordinary
powers that the minister is handing himself.
Then we see that this new master plan reverts to an element of the
original 2014 master plan which included housing. If we could be
reassured that the kind of housing being contemplated for the mixed-use
areas is affordable, maybe we would take a different view of this.
Personally I am inclined to agree with Leigh Carmichael from MONA that
given the extraordinary, unique and never-to-be-found-again opportunities
presented by this site, it should be public open space to the greatest
extent possible - mixed use, but a cultural space. How you can reconcile
having accommodation or housing there and then realising the full
potential of the site, I do not know, but the issue here is that it is not
going to be affordable housing. As if it is going to be affordable
housing! If the minister wants to get up and say he will mandate that any
housing on the site is a mix of prices so that we have some genuine
affordability there, maybe that would provide some reassurance to some
stakeholders, but it will not be.
I believe it was in the Mercury newspaper where they said something about
it being one of the richest addresses in Hobart. I have so many clippings
here that are pretty damning. Here we go. From the Mercury of 16 October
- 'Macquarie Point could become the best address in town':
The bold 'reset vision' for the prime 9 hectare site to be unveiled on
Tuesday will allow for residential housing as part of the first stage of
Of course we need more people living in the city; that is what is
happening in Hobart now. We are seeing our city come to life more because
we have more residential premises and properties in the city. You only
have to look at a fantastic development like the Common Ground facilities
to know how important it is that cities have life and human beings in them
24/7. But this is not about affordable housing. It seems to us clearly
that it is about creating high-end housing in some of the best real estate
in Tasmania. If it was about affordable housing the minister might have
said something about it, or there might have been a reference to the
possibility of inclusionary zoning so we can prescribe that a part of any
residential development on the site be given over to affordable housing.
If it becomes a real estate precinct, what is to stop it becoming a short-
stay accommodation precinct?
We have real problems with this legislation on a number of levels. The
first is the total contempt for public process in dumping this master plan
and the legislation on the Tuesday, and the second is the unjustifiable
powers it gives to the Minister for State Growth. It is important that I
put on the record on behalf of the Greens that we have no gripe with the
Macquarie Point Development Corporation. We had a briefing yesterday with
the Corporation, with Mary Massina and Emma Hope, and really appreciated
that briefing. We know they are doing their best on that site to make it
work and to progress the realisation of that site's potential.
This is not about the corporation. This is about what has become
political. It has come to this point because you have a Government in
utter disarray, you have a disgraced minister, you have a Health minister
under enormous pressure, and a Government that wants to look like it is
getting on with the job. In doing so it is rushing one of the most
important opportunities that our beautiful city has been presented with.
It is not good enough for the minister to say the state has been working
closely with the Commonwealth Government and is on the cusp of signing the
Hobart City Deal, which has the potential to create a blue print for the
future of the central Hobart area harnessing the resources of all three
levels of government. A government that is so contemptuous of the public
conversation about Macquarie Point or the City of Hobart, the Hobart City
Deal brings no reassurance whatsoever. We have two levels of government,
because Hobart City Council is still being shut out, conservative
governments that are full of climate deniers -
Mr Bacon - Federal government?
Ms O'CONNOR - I am talking about both of them. Climate deniers,
antagonistic towards public transport, all about the money and much less
about people and amenity and liveability. The notion that you have two
conservative governments deciding what is going to be in the city deal is
It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform this beautiful city,
to make sure we are dealing with the congestion that is blighting people's
lives, to make sure that our children and grandchildren can look forward
to living in the most beautiful city in the world in the most beautiful,
sustainable island in the world. That is, a modern city that has
fantastic public spaces and public transport, and in an era of
accelerating climate disruption has resilience built into it. That is
what the Hobart City Deal needs to deliver for our city. To tie the
potential signing of the Hobart City Deal in with this abuse of the
minister's powers is unjustifiable.
We strongly support the Macquarie Point site being a cultural precinct, a
precinct for science. We want to see, for example, the Eden project come
to Macquarie Point. Madam Speaker, before your time here we had a
minister for state growth, Mr Groom, who had been presented with the Eden
project proposal. Much to the frustrations of the bureaucrats he was
working with, it sat on his desk for seven or eight months because it was
a bit too green for him to tick off. That is why it sat in his in tray,
which is why we were getting calls.
We cannot support this bill in its current form because of the abuse of
good planning process. We cannot support it because there has been no
argument made or justification for the minister to give himself such
extraordinary powers. We are concerned that what should be one of the
most exciting things that has happened to our city in decades is becoming
a political stitch-up and is not involving the people of Tasmania in a
conversation. Why are we having to cop a master plan being dropped in the
local media as a fixed plan when this is a place that belongs to the
people? Why are the people not part of this conversation? What problems
do you have with engaging with Tasmanians about what they want to happen
to their place? Is it too inconvenient for you? It is annoying? Does it
annoy you to have to listen to your constituents -
Dr Woodruff - Is it too hard?
Ms O'CONNOR - Is it too hard, Dr Woodruff? I think it might be too hard.
I can indicate we will want to go into Committee. We have a number of
questions about provisions in the legislation as they relate to the
minister's powers and the lack of consultation. Dr Woodruff would like to
make a contribution.
Even in his second reading speech the minister has not bothered to explain
why he needs these powers and why the Tasmanian people and the Planning
Commission have been so thoroughly sidelined. It is disappointing because
we could have been in here debating a process for Macquarie Point that is
genuinely inclusive, that draws on all the best ideas. Let's face it,
Tasmania is a highly creative and connected community. The ideas that
could come forward in this reset process will not be realised because
there is no space for that to happen. The space has been closed.
We could have had a tripartisan debate on an excellent amendment bill and
a process that is inclusive and refers back to the people of Tasmania. Mr
Gutwein, when you sigh heavily like that, I think am a boring you or
frustrating you. A bit of both?
Mr Gutwein - It would not be fair for me to say.
Ms O'CONNOR - I do not care what you think of me. But when you sigh so
heavily I do wonder what that is about. Is it because you do not have all
the powers yet because we are giving you hard time about your mad power
grab on Macquarie Point?
We will deal with some of these issues in the Committee stage of the bill
. I would like some guidance from the minister about whether we are
looking at a specific area plan in the provisions that relate to the
request the board makes for a planning scheme amendment? Is the proposal
that we create a new planning scheme within the planning scheme like
Cambria Green would be?
Mr Gutwein - I am happy to explain that because I honestly think you have
misunderstood part of what we are attempting to do here. I am happy to
explain it when I sum up.
Ms O'CONNOR - I am glad you did not say that in too patronising a manner,
We have been briefed on it by the corporation and officers. We have
spoken to local government representatives, been through the legislation
in detail, and the points we are making about shutting people out are
unarguable. That represents a lost opportunity to make sure the future of
this site is not decided on political lines but is decided by the people
who have the most stake in this. That is, the people of Tasmania,
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. It is young people who will be walking
that site long after we are in the ground.
This is a missed opportunity to make this an inclusive process that gets
the best out that site and makes sure the owners of the site feel they are
being heard and the best ideas are being drawn on. Instead we have a
master plan cooked up and dropped in the newspaper that says to the people
of Tasmania, 'Here you go, this is number 3 version, this is the way it
is'. We can do better than that by this site.
We cannot support the bill in its current form. We will be taking it into
Committee so we can ask some questions on those specific provisions that
provide the Minister for State Growth with more power than he is capable
of wielding responsibly.