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Ferguson Wrong to Override Clarence Council

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Friday, 10 March 2023

Tags: Planning, Local Government, Housing, Short Stay Accommodation

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Planning spokesperson

Planning Minister Michael Ferguson's intervention to override a planning decision by Clarence City Council is wrong, unnecessary, and shows a disdain for democracy.
Earlier this week the Council voted 9 to 3 against extending the Urban Growth Boundary on Droughty Point, citing a range of valid concerns. Given the Planning Minister said in July last year that changes to the growth boundary could "undermine the Greater Hobart Plan and its implementation" and that any amendment would be "subject to a thorough and comprehensive assessment process", it is reasonable to think he would have supported the Council's decision. 
Instead we've seen Minister Ferguson rush to override the Council's decision without following any assessment or consultation process. This intervention shows contempt for the people of Clarence, and will raise alarm bells for Councils around Tasmania. 
The Planning Minister can pretend his actions are about dealing with the housing crisis, but Tasmanians see straight through him. Like everything with the Liberals, this is about maximising profit.
Minister Ferguson and the Liberals could step in and put limits on short stay accommodation right now to ease Tasmania’s housing crisis. Instead, Michael Ferguson is refusing to act, while personally profiting through his own AirBnB.
Little wonder he's happy to do whatever it takes to boost the profits of big developers. 
The Minister should tell the truth and admit that laying out the red carpet for developer profits is not going to help with the immediate supply issues in the housing market. After all, development approvals are already outstripping building commencements. 
If Michael Ferguson was serious about delivering better housing outcomes for Tasmanians, he would support any number of evidence-based policies, like putting strong limits on AirBnB and other short stay rentals, introducing an empty homes levy, and stopping unreasonable rent hikes are all options he could pursue.