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Planning without Vision

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Tags: Planning

Ms WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Speaker, I rise to inform the House about an incredibly large and very successful public meeting that was held in the Hobart Town Hall a week ago on 8 November.  There were differing accounts, but there were probably more than 500 people, standing room only, flowing down onto the stairs and all the portals onto that space.  It was a truly momentous occurrence which was organised by more than 20 separate community groups who have no alliance other than that they have slowly come to understand the enormity that this Government's planning scheme will have on everything they hold dear.  Every streetscape, bush area, reserve, public viewing point, vista, piece of heritage character and skyline we look at now and love is under threat from this Government's approach of opened door to developers.  It is nothing short than an assault on the Tasmania we know and love.  It is an absolute assault on diversity and difference.  It is an attack on everything we have to offer the rest of the world as a point of difference.  What it enshrines is the kind of development that has happened in Victoria.

Professor Michael Buxton, from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, presented to the meeting the finding of Victorian planning scheme.  The politicisation of the planning scheme has led to a situation where they have abolished their independent state planning body.  They have devolved local land-use planning to a state-planning agency which is under direct ministerial control.  They have deregulated standardised planning and a standardised planning is imposed on local government.  There is constant ministerial intervention in planning decisions in Victoria.  The changes in that state have by no measure been good.  The 100 brand-new skyscraper, residential towers in the inner city part of Melbourne did not exist.  There was not a single skyscraper, residential development in the City of Melbourne before these changes took place. 

In front of us, we have two skyscrapers that are being proposed for Hobart by a Singaporean company.  There is a grave threat, because of the changes this Liberal Government has brought in, that the minister, if he so chooses, can override a decision by the Hobart City Council and may, if he does not like the decision, call either of those projects in as a project of state significance. 

The changes we are seeing in Tasmania are not led by strategy.  They are not led by vision.  They are led by development interests.  The community is waking up to exactly what is happening.  It is the politicisation of the planning process, removal of planners from planning, gutting of the Tasmanian Planning Commission, lack of consistent funding and removal of the experts of the planning commission, all in the name of cutting red tape to liberate our economy.  Instead, it is doing the opposite. 

It is removing the diversity, the beauty and the difference.  Residents of inner city suburbs in Hobart and Launceston, on the east coast and in small towns around the state do not want to live in a place which is a cookie-cutter state.  They want to live in the place they have always lived in and change it organically.  They want to have a say and a right to appeal a decision.  They want to have enough time to consider a change that is being proposed by developer.  They want it to go through their local council and not to be taken up by the minister and taken over by a Liberal ideology which is a red carpet to developers.

This is the beginning of a strong community campaign which will speak up for the parts of Tasmania.  We, in the Greens, will continue to represent the views of people in Tasmania who want to protect our environment for the future, who want a streetscape, or a township, which has character and which carries our heritage with us.  We do not want buildings that are shells where people can do whatever they want inside them.  We want the full-blooded character of this island, where we live.  We want to invest it with the difference that we have in our everyday life that people have always had in Tasmania.  That includes a proper Aboriginal code in the planning scheme in consultation with the Aboriginal community, with the detail and the protections that provide proper protection for Aboriginal heritage in the state.

We want a biodiversity overlay, which has been consulted and has a high level of specificity about plants and animals.  We want some funding put into making sure that the underlying material of the planning scheme gives planners, not politicians, the information they need to make consistent decisions for our future.