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Greater Hobart Plan - Urban Growth Boundary

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Tags: Planning


This week the Clarence City Council censured you for abusing your powers as minister and subverting their role as a planning authority. You did not like their decision to reject an extension of the Urban Growth Boundary and you stepped in to back the developers and try to overturn it. Yesterday in Question Time you dropped an announcement that you will be easing out the growth boundaries in 12 Hobart areas for development. They are likely to be precious ridgelines and conservation land. Instead of using your golden pen to regulate short-stay accommodation and reduce the renting crisis, partly because you are conflicted as an Airbnb owner, you are fast-tracking public land ad hoc to the developers. You are acting like the planning overlord you clearly think you are. Will you keep your mitts off Clarence City Council and tell Tasmanians where those 12 hand-picked areas are going to be?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member for Franklin for her question. There are so many mistakes in that question but I will start with the last one. They have been publicly provided and I will provide them to the House later today, because she is clearly not across her own brief. I have proved guidance that the Urban Growth Boundary has a number of anomalies in it - 12 according to my advice from the department.

Dr Woodruff - Yes, they get in the way of developers. They are very annoying.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr FERGUSON - I am happy to address your, again, false claim, Dr Woodruff. There are 12 locations around southern Tasmania that have been identified through the Greater Hobart Plan, which I have discussed in this place on numerous occasions. That was the work that our Government and the four southern Greater Hobart councils have been working through. Now that the Greater Hobart Plan has been adopted and finalised by collaboration we are now moving on the Urban Growth Boundary in relation to those 12 areas, not just the one in relation to Droughty Point but the 12.


You are wrong about claiming that it is somehow public land; that is private land. I do not know why you say these things, Dr Woodruff. Again, you are wrong but we do not expect a retraction or a correction.

Dr Woodruff - Is it? So there is no Crown land?

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr FERGUSON - The Droughty Point land is private land and you ought to know that. The Urban Growth Boundary does not, by itself, bring land in for housing. What it does is set the limits for what the Planning Commission can consider for rezoning. Again, I do not understand why the Greens do not get that.

Finally, to the first incorrect point, the claim that somehow Clarence City Council have been usurped. That is not correct. Under the act, only one level of government can change the Urban Growth Boundary. It is not council, it is not the federal government, it is the Tasmanian Government. The Urban Growth Boundary has changed a number of times and the Southern Regional Land Use Strategy has changed a number of times. We are proposing to change it now in a coordinated fashion and in a way that reflects that work that has been done through the Greater Hobart Committee.

Dr Woodruff - Secret work.

Mr FERGUSON - So secret that it is on the Greater Hobart Committee website. So secret that the world can see it.

Members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Order, order.

Mr FERGUSON - You are just digging your hole deeper, Dr Woodruff, because you have no idea what you are talking about. What we are proposing is something very sensible.

I will agree with Dr Woodruff on one thing. I was very disappointed with Clarence City Council's decision, for a few reasons. First of all, it went against the Greater Hobart Plan which Clarence City Council, with respect, had been a worthy and supportive member of and very constructive along the process. The second reason is because Clarence City councillors, or at least the majority of them, actually went specifically against their own expert planner's advice, which has created all sorts of issues in respect of that.

Dr Woodruff - They are the planning authority and it is their role to do that.

Mr SPEAKER - Dr Woodruff, order.

Mr FERGUSON - I am also disappointed for another reason and that is that your party, Dr Woodruff, and your party, Ms White, have backed in a decision that otherwise would have stopped 2500, maybe 3000, homes coming into the market.

Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Mr Speaker. The minister is misleading the House. That is not the decision that was taken. The decision was about an extension for 800 houses. He is misleading the House that 1700 houses would have been approved. Will he correct the record, please?

Mr SPEAKER - That is not a point of order.

Mr FERGUSON - The Greens have backed in a decision that if we were not playing a role would have prevented 2500 to 3000 new homes coming into the market.

We need more land supply in appropriate locations, close to services and close to the existing boundary. Skylands represents an exciting and innovative opportunity to deliver all those homes and as the proponents have made the point, it is not just with 5 per cent of public open space, but more than 30 per cent. It could be one of the most contemporary, exciting housing developments the state has ever seen. It is not just about how innovative it is. We need to see more supply. I am sad to see the Greens and the Labor Party once again being anti-development on this.

Mr Speaker, as I conclude, we are currently consulting on the proposed changes to the Urban Growth Boundary. The four councils in the south, together with the Tasmanian Planning Commission, have been written to and been asked for their feedback for a five-week period. We look forward to their feedback, but I think that the Government's intentions are very clear. We intend to move on that, unfortunately without the support of Ms White and Dr Woodruff.