Other approvals/permits and regulators
Who are the regulators in the Major Project process and what do they do?
The Regulators are those organisations or bodies responsible for administering separate approvals or giving advice to refuse or include conditions on a permit issued under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993.. The Regulators conduct their assessment of a major project in accordance with their normal obligations and give their advice on conditions or an instruction to refuse the permit to the Independent Panel. The Independent Panel cannot override a Regulator. This ensures the major project process provides a thorough robust assessment of all the issues relevant to a major project, as opposed to by-passing them. The Regulators include:
- Environmental Protection Authority
- Heritage Tasmania
- Aboriginal Heritage
- Threatened Species
- Tas Water
- Gas Pipeline
Does the Major Project process bypass other required approvals?
No. All assessments required under other relevant legislation are called ‘project associated Acts’ in the Major Project process. The assessments of a Major Project are conducted by the normal Regulators and their decisions are coordinated through the Major Project process just as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Heritage Council decisions are coordinated through the council development application (DA) process under the long standing arrangements under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993. The Independent Panel must follow the advice of the Regulators. Consequently if a regulator directs that the Independent Panel to refuse the proposal, neither the Independent Panel nor another Regulator can override the direction.
Can a Major Project be approved when a planning scheme would not allow it?
Planning schemes are not fixed forever, and many applications to change or amend planning schemes are made every year. These are assessed by the Tasmanian Planning Commission (the Commission). Currently a person can also seek a planning scheme amendment and a development permit at the same time. In the year 2018-19 the Commission processed 14 such combined applications.
The Major Project process provides for a similar approach but is intended to consider complex larger scale projects that are contained in more than one council area or their effects will reach beyond a single council area. As such, the Major Project process intends to examine the broader regional issues of projects rather than being limited to the local planning issues. On this basis, it is plausible that some major projects would require an alteration to the local planning scheme to proceed. The Major Project process has been designed to consider this scenario and allow the consideration of projects that may not be currently allowed by a local planning scheme. This is not dissimilar to how the Commission considers an amendment to a planning scheme for a site specific change to the planning scheme as part of a combined application. The processes and procedures that the Commission follows to determine the amendment to the planning scheme are embodied within the Major Project process.