Assessment of Major Projects

Major Projects Assessment

The Major Projects Bill passed through both houses of Parliament on 24 September 2020, with amendments. The Bill is yet to receive royal ascent.

The Major Projects process in the Bill provides for the consideration of complex projects that would have impacts or benefits that extend beyond a single municipal area.

The major projects process provides a coordinated assessment for a range of different approvals including, land use planning, environmental impacts, Aboriginal heritage, historic cultural heritage, Taswater, threatened species and gas pipeline safety. A project can only be assessed under the major projects process if the Minister for Planning makes a declaration for a project to be a major project. The Ministers decision is subject to eligibility and ineligibility criteria to ensure that only projects of regional scale enter the process, but a declaration of a major project does not imply an automatic approval of the project. The Minister cannot declare a major project on government owned or administered land without the written consent of the land manager. The project then undergoes a formal assessment by an independent panel. The independent panel is assembled by the Tasmanian Planning Commission.

The formal assessment process includes an ‘early warning’ test to discover if any projects have obvious problems that make them unsuitable for approval. The independent assessment panel will prepare detailed assessment criteria specific to the project and the site, to ensure that the project receives a thorough analysis of its suitability for its location. Throughout the process the community are consulted on multiple occasions, including comment on draft assessment criteria, exhibition of the proposed major project and before a final decision is made the independent assessment panel will conduct a public hearing.

The independent panel has the discretion to approve or refuse a major project. The decision of the independent panel is based upon how well a project proponent can address the thorough assessment criteria that are prepared for the specific project.

A copy of the amended Bill can be found on the Parliament website.

For any information on the Bill relating to its progress through Parliament, the Parliaments Hansard records can be viewed.

House of Assembly

Legislative Council (note there will also be a Hansard record from 23 September 2020 as well at present it is not available on the parliament website)

This page will be updated shortly with information to reflect the amended Bill and to provide an updated description of the process approved by Parliament.

For further information please phone the Planning Policy Unit on 03 6166 1429.