The Planning Policy Unit builds and maintains the Tasmanian planning system to ensure it is fit-for-purpose, represents best practice and is sufficiently robust to meet the opportunities and challenges of Tasmania’s growth. The Planning Policy Unit:

  • develops, maintains and reviews the state-wide elements of Tasmania’s planning system
  • develops and reviews legislation relating to the Government’s planning reform program and the planning system generally
  • provides strategic planning advice in relation to Tasmania’s planning system to the Minister, State Agencies and other stakeholders

The Planning Policy Unit does this by researching contemporary issues and consulting stakeholders and the community to:

  • understand the changing economic, social and environmental needs of the community
  • develop broad strategies to plan for these needs
  • establish planning rules to ensure that the broad strategies can be implemented

Tasmanian Planning System

Land use planning is about determining the future of the places where we live, work and play. By setting policies, developing strategies and establishing a framework for decision making, planning provides a forum for our aspirations: what we want our society, our settlements, our infrastructure, our landscapes to look like, and how we want them to function.

Planning is about current land use decision making, and it is also forward looking. As well as regulating individual proposals, planning also establishes a broader more strategic approach to the long-term use and development of land, and protects the things that make Tasmania such a special place to live: our liveable communities, our unique natural environments and our diverse economic opportunities.

Through policies, strategies, and regulation, the Tasmanian planning system includes roles for all tiers of government, regulatory bodies and the community.

Want to know more about what Urban and Regional Planning is and what Planners do?  Find out in a few minutes in this video prepared by Planning Institute of Australia.

What does the Tasmanian Planning System look like?

Tasmania’s Resource Management and Planning System (RMPS) sets out the overarching objectives for the use and development of the State’s natural and physical resources. A number of pieces of legislation embody those aims, including the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) and State Policies and Projects Act 1993.

LUPAA sets out the legal framework for the Tasmanian land use planning system, which allows for:

The Tasmanian Planning Scheme (TPS) will replace the currently operating local council interim planning schemes / planning schemes, which are different within each of the 29 municipalities.  The TPS will consist of state wide provisions to ensure consistency across Tasmania, and local provisions which spatially apply those through zoning maps along with specific provisions for unique places in each municipality to address local issues. Implementation will be staggered as the local provisions are approved for each municipality; with state-wide adoption expected by the end of 2021.

The planning system is required to be consistent with the State Policies.

The current State Policies are:

Key players within the Tasmanian Planning System

Tasmanian Planning System Minister for Planning Provides overarching direction, and articulates the Government’s vision for the planning system Planning Policy Unit  Builds and maintains the planning system and the State content of the planning scheme Tasmanian Planning Commission Local Councils  Spatially apply zones and overlays, assess development applications under the planning scheme, and enforce planning rules Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal Resolves appeals against councils’ planning decisions State Agencies  and Ministers Housing, Roads, Transport, Health, Education Support the planning system at the policy and strategic level

Minister for Planning

The Minister for Planning provides overarching direction, and articulates the Government’s vision for the planning system.

The Minister for Planning also has a range of powers and responsibilities including:

  • approving the State Planning Provisions
  • approving Tasmanian Planning Policies and Regional Land Use Strategies
  • making Housing Land Supply Orders

Planning Policy Unit (Department of Justice)

The Planning Policy Unit:

  • develops, maintains and reviews the state-wide elements of Tasmania’s planning system
  • develops and reviews legislation relating to the Government’s planning reform program and the planning system generally
  • provides strategic planning advice in relation to Tasmania’s planning system to the Minister, State agencies and other stakeholders

Tasmanian Planning Commission

The Tasmanian Planning Commission is an independent body that performs a range of statutory and advisory roles. The Commission:

  • considers amendments to the State Planning Provisions
  • assesses draft Local Provisions Schedules
  • assesses draft planning scheme amendments, and combined permits and amendments
  • reviews reports on representations to draft management plans
  • assesses projects of regional and State significance
  • reports on draft State Policies and Tasmanian Planning Policies
  • assesses draft planning directives
  • inquires into the future use of public land
  • makes changes to planning schemes to give effect Housing Land Supply Orders.

Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal

The Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal hears and determines appeals and applications arising from a wide range of administrative acts and decisions. The Tribunal, within the limits set out in LUPAA, can also make orders enforcing observance of the planning scheme.  It also has powers under other Acts to issue enforcement orders related to breaches of environmental legislation; strata title regulations and a range of other legislative requirements.

Councils (Planning Authorities)

Local government in Tasmania consists of 29 councils, each responsible for their own municipal area.

Councils provide a range of services to their local communities including the regulation of planning and building. Within the land use planning system councils act as planning authorities and have prescribed functions, including:

  • making most of the statutory planning decisions that affect their municipal area in accordance with what the planning scheme allows
  • preparing local strategic plans to inform their Local Planning Schedules and give effect to the regional strategies
  • spatially applying the State’s planning rules in their Local Provisions Schedules
  • assessing applications and issuing permits
  • enforcing planning requirements.

To determine the municipal area and planning controls for a particular location, please refer to iPlan.  This online resource provides:

  • digital planning schemes
  • interactive planning scheme maps
  • details on upcoming hearings and assessments undertaken by the Tasmanian Planning Commission.

State Agencies

State agencies:

  • operate within the planning system as proponents of developments such as roads, bridges and schools
  • inform the policy and strategic parts of the system through their Ministers and the State Planning Inter-departmental Committee
  • act as the regulators for some areas of development assessment such as threatened species.

Planning Reform

The Government is undertaking planning reform to improve Tasmania’s planning system.

Changes to the planning legislation

In 2014 the Government first introduced changes to the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) to streamline the processes for finalising interim planning schemes and amending planning schemes, and a range of other measures to improve the planning system.

In late 2015, further amendments to LUPAA were made to provide for the introduction of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme (TPS) to deliver greater consistency in the planning rules across the State, providing greater certainty to investors and the community.

LUPAA has been further amended to expand the scope of the savings and transitional provisions. This will assist councils in preparing their Local Provisions Schedule for their municipal area, which when approved will form part of the TPS.

Tasmanian Planning Scheme

The TPS has two key elements:

  1. the State Planning Provisions (SPPs), which were made on 22 February 2017; and
  2. local councils’ Local Provision Schedules (LPSs) which apply the SPPs at the municipal level, and are currently being developed.

The TPS will be the single planning scheme for Tasmania, replacing 30 planning schemes that currently exist. The LPSs will also contain the particular purpose zones, specific area plans and site-specific qualifications for each local council area which have been approved for unique sites.

Tasmanian Planning Policies

In December 2018, LUPAA was amended to establish the provisions by which the Tasmanian Planning Policies (TPP) may be prepared, made, amended, implemented and reviewed.

Under the new provisions, the Government intends to prepare Tasmanian Planning Policies to give strategic direction to Tasmania’s planning system including principles to support economic development and the future needs of the community. These will be implemented predominantly through the regional land use strategies and Tasmanian Planning Scheme.

Major Projects

The Government also intends to introduce further legislation to deliver on reforms for the assessment of major development proposals to make the process more efficient, provide greater certainty to proponents earlier in the assessment process and improve transparency and public involvement.

The planning reforms are being delivered through a number of State and local government bodies:

Department of Justice – Planning Policy Unit

The Department of Justice’s Planning Policy Unit (PPU) has been established primarily to deliver the Government’s planning reform agenda. It provides expert advice on planning issues including the development, maintenance and review of statewide content and guidance for Tasmania’s planning system including the SPPs.

It also advises on the development and review of legislation and strategic policy for the Minister for Planning and Local Government and the Secretary of the Department.

The PPU has been working closely with local councils on transitioning existing the existing planning schemes to the Tasmanian Planning Scheme.

Tasmanian Planning Commission

The Tasmanian Planning Commission is an independent body established under the Tasmanian Planning Commission Act 1997 that performs a range of statutory and advisory functions for land use, including assessing planning schemes and planning scheme amendments.

In moving to the TPS, the Commission is responsible for the assessment process of Local Provision Schedules (LPS).

Local Councils

Local councils are the planning authorities responsible for implementing the TPS through the preparation of LPSs.

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