Tasmanian Planning Policies Bill – EDO comments

Planning

Want to know what we think of the proposed Land Use Planning and Approvals Amendment (Tasmanian Planning Policies) Bill 2017?  You can read our submission here.

EDO Tasmania strongly supports the introduction of a comprehensive suite of planning policies.  However, we are not convinced that creating a new instrument, Tasmanian Planning Policies, is the best mechanism to achieve that outcome.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS 

  • A suite of planning policies should be delivered through the existing State Policies process, rather than creating a whole new planning instrument
  • The ad hoc way in which planning reforms are being released makes it difficult for stakeholders to make constructive comments.  A public discussion regarding planning policies should have occurred before the Minister introduced the State Planning Provisions.
  • Planning policies should trigger review and amendments of State Planning Provisions and Local Provisions Schedules
  • Planning policies will set the policy direction for Tasmania and must be subject to broad and transparent public consultation.  This should include:
    • At least 42 days for public comments
    • Public hearings
    • Public release of the Commission’s report on public comments
  • The final form and content of planning policies should be determined by the Tasmanian Planning Commission, rather than the Minister.  If the Minister elects not to adopt the Commission’s recommendations, parliamentary approval should be required.

Submissions on the proposed Bill to introduce Tasmanian Planning Policies can be made until 5pm on 15 May 2017.  Read more and have your say.

EDO Bulletin 7/2017

Mac HarbourCan tarpaulins to catch fish waste solve environmental issues in Macquarie Harbour?  Should there be a tax on meat?  Are Tasmania’s anti-protest laws unconstitutional?  Read our latest Bulletin for updates on these and other issues.

Don’t miss your chance to comment on proposed reforms to Australia’s suite of environmental laws, new Tasmanian Planning Policies or options to encourage innovation in the agricultural sector.

New salmon cap for Mac Harbour, but companies allowed to breach

Mac HarbourOn 5 May 2017, the EPA Director issued a draft determination reducing the overall biomass cap for Macquarie Harbour from 1 June 2017 to 12,000t, allowing each of the three salmon companies farming in the harbour to stock their leases at 13t/ha.

The Director was satisfied that the reduced biomass cap was necessary, as recent IMAS data shows the harbour is “under a level of stress that may not be sustainable in the long term” and two recent mass fish mortality incidents highlight the need for caution.

Despite this finding, the Director’s determination will allow companies who install an “approved waste collection system” to stock up to 28t/ha.  Last week, Tassal indicated that, due to the volume of fish it already has growing in the Harbour, it expected overall biomass to reach 18,000t during late 2017.

The “approved waste collection system”, effectively a tarpaulin installed beneath pens allowing fish waste to be collected and removed, is currently untested.  The Director said:

While waste collection is technically feasible, it will be a challenging endeavour in Macquarie Harbour and will need to be carefully planned, executed, monitored and subject to ongoing review.

Tassal proposes to trial an experimental waste collection system beneath one of its existing pens – the proposal will be assessed by the EPA and, if approved, managed under an Environment Protection Notice.

SalmonIn his statement of reasons, the Director noted Huon Aquaculture’s view that the environmentally compromised harbour cannot sustain more than 10,000t, but considered the proposed biomass cap was appropriate given recent signs of recovery.  He said the proposed cap would “encourage remediation of harm and promote mitigation of any adverse effects that fish farming has on the Harbour.”

The Director noted the “social and economic” consequences to Tassal of destocking, and considered that “removal of the excess fish prior to planned harvesting [in December 2017] will significantly impact the community.”  His decision to allow for an approved waste collection system was to provide Tassal with an opportunity to harvest its current stock while minimising environmental impacts.

It is unclear whether there will be any opportunity for public comment on the proposed waste collection system.

Are you confused about what’s been going on in Macquarie Harbour?  Check out our timeline of key events.

Draft Tasmanian Planning Policies released

Planning

The Planning Reform Unit has released a draft Bill to amend the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 to include a process for making and amending a new type of planning instrument, to be known as Tasmanian Planning Policies.

These Policies are designed to provide strategic guidance on statewide planning issues, to inform the 5-year reviews of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, and to assist in the development of regional transport, infrastructure and settlement policies.   A draft suite of Tasmanian Planning Policies has also been released.

Comments on the Bill can be made until 15 May 2017.  Email your submission to planning.unit@justice.tas.gov.au (subject line:  Tasmanian Planning Policies) or write to:

Planning Policy Unit
Department of Justice
GPO Box 825
Hobart  TAS  7001

EDO Bulletin 4/2017

Thank you devilHooray, it’s Friday!

If you’re looking for something to do over the weekend, catch up on the latest edition of the EDO Bulletin.  This edition features updates on the re-opening of forest reserves, changes to the Aboriginal Relics Act, new rules to deal with disputes over backyard trees, salmon farming around Tasmania and volunteering with EDO Tasmania.

Forestry Bill passes Lower House

Styx Valley - Rob BlakersThe Forestry (Unlocking Production Forests) Bill 2017 was passed by the lower house late last night and will now go to the Legislative Council for debate.   For an overview of the key changes proposed by the Bill, you can read our summary.

The Forest Industries Association of Tasmania has criticised the legislation, challenging the rationale for making reserved forests available and the methodology used by Forestry Tasmania to determine access.  Read more on FIAT’s views here.

For a critique of the impacts of the proposal to open up FPPF Land on Forestry Tasmania’s bid for Forest Stewardship Council certification, click here.

The Bill, second reading speech and clause notes are available here.

Summer @ Shambles

Shambles

 

Don’t miss out on this family-friendly event – hear great music, eat delicious food, browse market stalls, get your face painted, sample a selection of ales… all while supporting EDO Tas.

1:15pm – DJ Beezy

2:00pmThe Scary Family Band

3:00pm – Emma Anglesey

4:00pm – Mocane

Facepainting from 1 – 3pm, food by Orlando Plenty from 2pm.

Get your tickets at Eventbrite, contact EDO Tas or take a chance and buy them at the door.

EDO Bulletin 3/2017

marineRead the latest EDO Tas Bulletin to catch up on a busy few weeks of planning and environmental law news – cable car, salmon farms, production forests, planning schemes and more!

 

State Planning Provisions declared

Planning

The Planning Minister has declared the final State Planning Provisions (SPPs), which will take effect on 2 March 2017.

You can read the Tasmanian Planning Commission’s report, the final SPPs and the Minister’s Statement of Reasons.

Key environmental issues arising from the SPPs include:

  • The SPPs are still not supported by a comprehensive suite of State Policies to guide planning outcomes. The Planning Commission acknowledges, in particular, the need to review the State Coastal Policy as a matter of urgency.  Other areas without a strategic policy basis include integrated transport, population and settlements, biodiversity management, tourism and climate change.
  • The Minister rejected the Planning Commission’s recommendation that the Natural Assets Code be scrapped in its entirety.  The Commission recommended that a new Code be developed after proper consideration of the biodiversity implications of proposed exemptions, and the production of adequate, Statewide vegetation mapping.
  • The Natural Assets Code in the final SPPs does include a number of amendments (e.g. expanding protection to native vegetation of local importance, even if not listed as threatened, and no longer allowing clearing up to 3,000m2 to be permitted in the Rural Living Zone).  However, many of the fundamental weaknesses remain:
    • the Code does not prevent native vegetation clearing in the Agriculture Zone
    • the Code does not protect drinking water catchments
    • the Code does not prevent clearing in national parks and reserves or on pasture or orchard land
    • mapping of priority vegetation is left to local Councils, supported only by TasVeg and Natural Values Atlas tools that are acknowledged to be incomplete.
  • Despite an acknowledgement from the Minister that the Reserve Activity Assessment process “needs review”, developments in national parks approved under that process will continue to avoid public scrutiny.
  • New provisions have been inserted to allow Councils to “call-in” developments they consider risky in terms of coastal erosion or inundation , even if the development site is not currently mapped as a risk area.
  • Local councils will be required to maintain their local heritage registers.
  • The Planning Commission acknowledges that the SPPs are designed to limit local variation, but queries whether a “one-size fits all” model will deliver certainty:

If local character is a point of difference and an attribute of all Tasmanian places, unintended consequences may flow from denying local differences. The ‘one size fits all’ approach is likely to result in planning authorities seeking more exceptions through the inclusion of particular purpose zones, specific area plans and site-specific qualifications…

  • The Planning Commission also recommends a review of development standards in the General Residential and Inner Residential Zones to assess whether the provisions deliver greater housing choice, encourage infill development, or unreasonably impact on residential character and amenity.
  • No new Codes have been developed to address stormwater and on-site waste disposal, acid sulfate soils or Aboriginal heritage.

Local Councils are now required to develop Local Provisions Schedules for their municipality, with draft LPS expected to be released for public consultation later in 2017.

For an overview of the process for developing Local Provisions Schedules, click here.

Planning continues to be a major work area for EDO Tasmania – helping the community to understand the changes, and advocating for better planning outcomes.  To help support this work, donate to our legal fund.