A first shot has been fired across the bow at Tasmanians who want to have a say in planning reform and decisions that affect their lives with the tabling today of the Land Use Planning and Approvals Amendment Bill 2014, Greens’ Planning spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said today.
“Mr Gutwein’s vision for planning is a system that caters to the big end of town at the expense of ordinary Tasmanians,” Ms O’Connor said.
“The fast-tracked process to approve Interim Planning Schemes removes any requirement for public hearings in response to concerns raised in representations to the Tasmanian Planning Commission.”
“Many Tasmanians who made a representation under the Interim Planning Scheme process, or who planned to put a case to the TPC as it assesses the Interim Schemes, will, under the legislation, have no opportunity to express their concerns and answer questions in person.”
“This is a significant backwards step for public participation in the planning process, and is just the beginning with the government flagging it will further restrict Tasmanians having a say in the planning process next year when it legislates to crack down on third party appeals and have applicants pay developers’ costs in the event of unsuccessful appeals.”
“The LUPAA Amendment Bill also gives the Minister and the Planning Commission the power to make decisions on the basis that the public interest is not compromised, but there is no criteria for any public interest test in the legislation.”
“That is, at best, a convenient oversight on the part of the government.”
“If Minister Gutwein is to be the arbiter of the ‘public interest’, then like public sector workers, the Tasmanian people will inevitably draw the short straw on his watch.”
“In their haste to make a show of being open for big business, the Hodgman Government is intent on removing the long held rights of Tasmanians to have a say in planning schemes, zones and decisions that affect their lives and their sense of place.”
“The balance is being tipped firmly in favour of the big end of town at the expense of everyday Tasmanians,” Ms O’Connor said.