Key Points:

The Tasmanian Government has passed a new bill to establish a single Tasmania-wide planning scheme to replace existing planning schemes for municipal areas.

The Land Use Planning and Approval Amendments (Tasmanian Planning Scheme) Bill 2015 was passed by the Tasmanian Parliament on 12 November 2015 (with amendment) to provide for the development of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme along with State Planning Provisions and Local Provisions Schedule which will apply to each municipal area.

The new legislation makes significant amendments to the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 as well as consequential amendments to four other Acts.

Tasmanian Planning Scheme

The new legislation will repeal the current provisions for the making, amending and review of planning schemes (including interim planning schemes) as well as those provisions for the making, amending and revoking of planning directives (including interim planning directives).

The substituting provisions will then provide for the making, amending and review of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme which will consist of:

  • the State Planning Provisions, to be developed by the Minister or the Tasmanian Planning Commission on the direction of the Minister; and
  • Local Provisions Schedule, to be developed by local planning authorities for their respective municipal areas.

Similar to the current provisions of the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act, existing uses of land will continue to be preserved when the Tasmanian Planning Scheme comes into effect. There are also extended provisions which will clarify that development and use which did not require a planning permit under a planning scheme for a municipal area that has been superseded will not need a planning permit if a certificate of likely compliance or permit has been issued under the Building Act 2000.

State Planning Provisions and Local Provisions Schedule

State Planning Provisions and Local Provisions Schedule will form all of the planning controls that apply to a local municipal area. The State Planning Provisions may set certain requirements in relation to Local Provisions Schedules, and that they may contain particular purposes zones, specific area plans and site specific qualifications.

The aim is to achieve greater transparency by requiring public exhibition of the draft State Planning Provisions and Local Provisions Schedules before they come into effect. Once publicly exhibited, any person may make representations in relation to the draft State Planning Provisions and draft Local Provisions Schedules and those representations are to be considered as follows:

  • draft State Planning Provisions ‒ the Commission must consider in its formal assessment; and
  • draft Local Provisions Schedules ‒ the planning authority must provide a report to the Commission on the representations. The Commission must hold a hearing in relation to the representations unless certain circumstances apply (for example, the Commission is satisfied that all the representations received are in support of the draft Local Provisions Schedules, or the person or body who made the representation notifies the Commission that he, she or it does not wish to have a hearing).

Local Provisions Schedule must contain those particular purpose zones, specific area plans and site specific qualifications that were in effect in a planning scheme prior to the Local Provisions Schedule being drafted and these aspects may be amended if required.

Other changes at a glance

There will be other amendments in relation to the Planning Commissions powers, requirements in relation to additional information requests, processes in relation to regional area and regional land use strategies declarations and special planning orders (to be known as Special Local Provisions Schedules).

There will also be consequential amendments to other Acts including the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994, Historic Cultural Act 1995, Tasmanian Planning Commission Act 1997 and Water and Sewerage Industry Act 2008 will also be amended to ensure that referrals and other references to Local Use Planning and Approvals Act remain current and reflect the new structure and section references, for the Tasmanian Planning Scheme.

What next

The Bill received assent on 4 December 2015 and the Act will commence on a day or days to be proclaimed. The Government is aiming to implement the new planning scheme by the end of 2017.

The Tasmanian Planning Reform Taskforce, which reports to the Minister, has been undertaking the initial drafting of the State Planning Provisions with consultation occurring with local government, community, environmental, agricultural, industry, and business stakeholders. As provided for in the new legislation, the draft State Planning Provisions will be publicly exhibited (expected in early 2016) during which time any person can make representations.