Ms DAWKINS question to MINISTER for PLANNING and LOCAL GOVERNMENT, Mr GUTWEIN
Can you advise the House and the residents of Bass of the Government's position on the Fragrance Group's plans for a 70-metre-high skyscraper in Launceston? Do you think it appropriate that a 25-storey building, more than double the height of any existing building, will be built in the city right next door to City Park? Have you met with the developer in relation to this proposal and have you seen the plans? To reassure the people of Launceston, will you today rule out providing any special support or using the powers you would have under the proposed major projects legislation to fast-track this project?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. It surprises me that I have received it. Quite obviously she has not taken the time to read the major projects legislation which explicitly outlines that the minister cannot call a project in by virtue of its height. You are well aware of that.
Ms O'Connor - That's not true - read the draft.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. It is not a time for debate.
Mr GUTWEIN - The member for Bass, who asked the question, is well aware of the suite of planning controls that are available to local government. Whether it be in Hobart or Launceston, if local government wants to put in place a particular purpose zone and limit the height and put a hard edge to it, they can do that. You know that; you are nodding your head.
Ms Dawkins - I do know that, but I want to know what you did -
Madam SPEAKER - Order. Allow the minister to answer the question.
Mr GUTWEIN - They can put in place a SAP, a specific area plan, if they wish. They can be specific in regard to what goes on a location or into an area. It is important to debunk the rubbish the Greens have been running, and some others, in regard to their arguments about planning.
Ms O'Connor - Have you met with the Fragrance group in relation to the Launceston skyscraper?
Mr GUTWEIN - I will finish this and then I will come back to that.
Ms O'Connor - Answer the question.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. Allow the minister to answer the question. I warn the members opposite. The minister is attempting to answer the question and you are not allowing him to. I have every right to call on the next question and you will not get your answer.
Mr GUTWEIN - Madam Speaker, I will come back to that and the conspiracy rubbish that is run by the Greens over and over again. No, I have not met them.
In regard to the tools available, this needs to be explained very clearly. We have put in place, for the first time ever, statewide planning controls - rules across the state. We have been consistent and have said that local government, with their communities, will be able to protect what is unique and special to them. Those planning controls are available to local government. I can understand why the Leader of the Greens does not bother herself with detail and is prepared to run conspiracy theories, but two members of the Greens have sat around council tables and are aware of the rules that exist today and the rules available to local government in the future.
It will be up to the community of Launceston to determine the right height for their city. I have to say I do not like tall buildings and I have made that perfectly clear. In regard to what has occurred in Hobart, I do not support skyscrapers, but it is not for me to call them in. It is for local government to utilise the tools available for them, which this Government has made available to enable them to manage the way these things develop. The member for Bass knows that full well, as does the member for Franklin. What they want to do is run their kooky conspiracy theories. At the end of the day the Launceston community will make the decision and they have the planning tools available to them to enable them to do so.