Tasmanian Planning Commission Review – Submission Guide

Media Enquiries

Sophie Underwood
PMAT State Director 
0407 501 999

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Thank you to everyone who made a submission to help preserve and strengthen the independent Tasmanian Planning Commission.

The state government called for submissions on the review of the Tasmanian Planning Commission (TPC) by 15 May 2020 – the deadline for public comment is now closed. You can still read our guide to making a submission and the background to the review and the TPC’s role: background to PMAT’s recommendations can be viewed here and the TPC’s current roles and functions can be viewed here. 

Any changes to the TPC could fundamentally change the planning system, and how we the community are involved in the resource management and planning decisions/processes.

We are concerned that the review of the TPC is part of a broader move to a Minister-centred model of decision-making, displacing the role of the TPC as an independent decision-maker and advisor. This is important because the TPC is an independent expert body, which provides the community with a fair hearing on resource management and planning matters. 

PMAT will communicate results from the review when announced by the State Government.

Submissions will be treated as public information and may be published on the Department of Justice website. Submissions may be published after the Government has considered them. No personal information other than an individual’s name or the organisation making a submission will be published.

The TPC must have its independence maintained, broadened and strengthened
  • The TPC must retain its capacity to perform its current functions independently of government.

  • The TPC’s power to act independently of the government should be expanded. The TPC should be given the power to make and amend the Tasmanian Planning Scheme.

  • The TPC’s governance should be free from Ministerial influence, and no changes should be made that undermine the public perception of the independent operation of the TPC.

The TPC must maintain its function in policy development

The TPC must:

  • Retain its existing role to review and hold hearings on representations, and report to the Minister on draft State Policies and amendments.

  • Retain its existing role to report to the Minister for Planning regarding Draft Tasmanian Planning Polices and to amend any planning scheme to be consistent with a those policies.

  • Restore its role as the body responsible for making planning scheme controls and amendments by making the TPC the decision-maker for State Planning Provisions and removing Ministerial oversight for Local Provisions Schedules. This would provide the TPC with an important role in influencing planning policy.

The TPC should develop Tasmania’s Regional Land Use Strategies
  • Legislation should be changed to give the TPC the responsibility to develop, amend and approve Regional Land Use Strategies with public notice and hearings. 

The TPC must maintain its function of assessing Projects of State and Regional Significance
  • The TPC must retain its existing responsibility to assess projects of State significance e.g. major projects like Gunns Pulp Mill and Ralphs Bay, and to provide advice and recommendations to the Minister. 

  • The role of the TPC in assessing and approving projects of State and regional significance through existing processes should not be undermined e.g. through the draft Major Projects Bill.

The TPC must retain its function of Reviewing National Park and Reserve management plans
  • The TPC’s role in independently and transparently reviewing reserve management plans must be retained and legislation should be amended to clarify that the TPC may make recommendations for changes to reserve management plans.
State of the Environment Reporting should remain with the TPC
  • The problems with State of the Environment (SoE) reporting identified by the TPC in 2013 (and reconfirmed in 2018) should be addressed and the TPC should continue to produce SoE reports each five years. These reports are vital for a range of reasons, including informing good planning.

The TPC must be properly funded
  • Properly fund the TPC to allow it to carry out existing statutory roles, including the State of Environment Report and new State Policies.

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