Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, you would have heard about the proposed Droughty Point development in Tranmere on the eastern shore of Hobart. It is the largest proposed housing development in Tasmania with an unclear number of potential dwellings that will be built. It think it is fair to say it's in the early stages and there's a long way between conflict and agreement on a range of issues that have been raised in the early stages of planning.
The community want to understand some of the very substantial infrastructure issues to do with transport particularly and ferries, so I have a couple of questions. What engagement are you having with the Clarence City Council and the Hobart City Council and the Greater Hobart Plan on this very large development? It has implications for the numbers of passengers every day going over the bridge and obviously for upgrades of state-owned roads. Can you talk about your engagement with the councils at this point?
Mr FERGUSON - Thank you, Dr Woodruff, for the question and welcome to the committee. I have two ways of answering this. The first is that proposals for development obviously would sit more properly with the Planning portfolio and I'm happy to discuss those in detail at a later time. In terms of infrastructure impacts or potential investments, it's suitable for me to go into that with the Department of State Growth here. You have specifically asked about what engagement is occurring with the Clarence City Council so I'll ask the secretary or Dr Blake to respond to that if they have anything to hand at all; I'm happy for them to speak freely. We have significant plans on that corridor, noting that there are funded plans now for duplication works at the South Arm Highway at Rokeby, but that is not necessarily to be seen as trying to force an outcome at Droughty Point - that would be for existing congestion and future-proofing that corridor, and I just want to make that distinction.
We are working through the South East Traffic Solution to get traffic moving more freely generally on that part of the network, including the very exciting strengthening and pedestrian cycleway dedicated facilities on the Tasman Bridge.
I know that that is coming into the city, off where you started from Droughty Point. I don't think we have a predetermined position on Droughty Point per se but I am comfortable with the department speaking to you and the committee about engagement with council., if there has been any. I don't know.
Ms WHITE - That is good of you.
Mr FERGUSON - It is good of them.
Dr BLAKE - We have had some early engagement with them. We engage with them and other councils about all sorts of developments. When a development gets to a certain point, we would input formally in terms of making submissions, et cetera.
It is fair to say,we are engaged, particularly from the transport perspective, and we are thinking about this in a broader context as well. We are leading some work with all four councils around the development of the Greater Hobart Plan, for example, which deals with settlement patterns and infill, in particular, but also more broadly.
We will continue to engage with them. We have not formed a view at this point. We have worked through and look at detailed requirements in terms of transport and infrastructure impacts. But I would not make a specific comment about the merits or otherwise of this development.
Dr WOODRUFF - I am not asking for that. I was asking you, minister, about what the engagement from you and your role would be with that council about that massive development. I think I understand that you will have conversations.
Can I ask a question about the Skylands proposal? You may not be familiar but I am sure your staff would have read. An integral part of that is a ferry service to be located near Droughty Point. There would obviously need to be a feasibility study involved for something like that. Has your department had any engagement with the Skylands company about that proposal? And what are your views about that proposal, how it would fit in with your other ferry objectives?
Mr FERGUSON - I'm happy to answer, and my officials also. I've had correspondence, I believe, from the proponents of the Skylands development. I don't believe I have had anything other than a fairly superficial [inaudible] with the proponents. I am certainly aware of the media reporting of what could be very exciting residential expansion in that zone.
I don't prejudge, whether it is appropriate or not, under the planning system. But that would be a worthy discussion during the planning outputs later in the day, if you wish.
I am aware that the Greater Hobart Plan is currently being consulted between the Department of State Growth - not my portfolio but the department under Mr Barnett's responsibilities - and the four Greater Hobart councils. I had a fair role in that before the reshuffle.
It is now out for public consultation and it does openly canvas issues of conversion of more land to residential zoning, including by moving the urban growth boundary.
That is not prejudging but that is up for discussion. We are encouraging people to get a good look at that plan document and provide their feedback, noting that one of the key messages in that Greater Hobart Plan is that there is huge opportunity for more infill of existing residentially zoned areas, and to see medium-density dwelling developments within the existing zoned land and existing urban growth boundary.
That is a fair appraisal of my knowledge of Skylands.
Dr WOODRUFF - You don't have a view about the ferries, how it would fit in? That is the question I asked.
Mr FERGUSON - I am really interested in your question. But I can say quite honestly that is the first I have heard of a proposal for a ferry off that location. It sounds like it could be very interesting. I wouldn't have a reaction to it other than to say that that's another example of a proposal, whether it would fit in with the Derwent ferry expansion or it would be a private operation. I think I would be interested in that. I would love to see what its credentials are, or could be, if there were more housing to go in that area of Tasmania.
CHAIR - Mr O'Byrne.
Mr FERGUSON - Do you mind, Chair, I was just looking to my officials, if they had anything to add.
Dr WOODRUFF - Opponents have argued a ferry is needed to decrease the volume of traffic which is a concern to residents at the moment.
Mr FERGUSON - Chair, with your indulgence, I was wanting to see if anybody wanted to add to what I have said.
Mr EVANS - Not specifically. My understanding is that we have not had any direct engagement with Skylands. We have talked in broad terms with Clarence City Council but not specifically about the ferry proposal. As the Deputy Premier said, we would be happy to have that engagement.