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Heritage Code A Pandora's Box Full Of Lawyers

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Tags: Heritage, Planning

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Planning Spokesperson

A unanimous theme was voiced by people making representations at today's Tasmanian Planning Commission hearings about the Heritage Code.

Its language is so loose it will be a monster for heritage protection, and the "standard" exemptions mean there will be no ability to protect what is special about a place.

The Heritage Code was described as a "Pandora's box" for local councils, full of lawyers waiting to jump out of it. The lack of prescribed heritage protections means interpretation can be so broad that heritage lovers and developers will be forced into litigation to get answers about simple developments.

Far from faster, simpler and cheaper, one local council planner said it would be impossible to provide guidance and advice to owners or developers about what they actually can and can't do.

Instead, they foresee many matters being regularly referred to the expensive and time consuming process of the Appeals Tribunal for a decision. This is out of the price range of ordinary people, and not what developers want to hear either.

This Heritage Code is a terrible step backward in terms of protecting the history of Tasmania and what makes us interesting to others. The current proposals make it impossible to protect the different types of heritage throughout the state, and only things listed on the Heritage Register will be protected.

In Tasmania about half of all councils have yet to undertake a heritage assessment of their area. We're loosening protections before we even understand what we're losing.

The Minister for Planning needs to take his new role as the supreme judge of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme very seriously. The community, councils and developers all need him to put proper heritage protections in place.