Questions from Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) event – 8 May 2020, via ZOOM

The enforcement section of the bill does not seem to identify who is responsible for enforcement?

The Commission is responsible for enforcement of the Permit under section 60ZZZF of the Bill, this includes any conditions imposed by the Environment Protection Authority, the Tasmanian Heritage Council, TasWater, the relevant regulator under the Gas Pipelines Act 2000. The other relevant regulators under the Bill, covering the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995, or the Aboriginal Heritage Council are responsible for enforcing any conditions imposed by them.

How are Aboriginal Land Council Tasmania (TALC), TasNetworks, State Growth and Parks and Wildlife permit processes addressed under the Act?

TALC are consulted throughout the process each and every time land owners are consulted in the process, wherever the Bill refers to those persons or bodies listed in section 60P.

TasNetworks are also consulted throughout the process as a Tasmanian Government business, wherever the Bill refers to those persons or bodies listed in section 60P.

Permits from State Growth under the Roads and Jetties Act 1935 or licenses from Parks and Wildlife are not part of the major projects process. However, under section 60P of the Bill, State Agencies are consulted throughout the entire process. These are administrative processes which are not subject to a current statutory process where there is a comprehensive assessment involving issuing of assessment guidelines and public submissions. The Major Projects process is limited to co-ordinating a range of statutory approvals central to the use of the land for the proposed project.

Has there been any thought to including the Reserve Activity Assessment (RAA) (or equivalent process for other Departments like State Growth) in as one of the component to the MP process?

Currently the RAA is not a process that is articulated in legislation. It is a means for Parks and Wildlife to assess compliance with either a Reserve Management Plan or the objectives for certain types of reserves. The Major Projects process co-ordinates statutory approvals.

The task of gaining land owner consent is an administrative one managed by Crown Land Services and is not set out in legislation. The Major Projects process has not been designed to ‘step in’ and alter any internal management process of a government agency, where these internal processes are not set out in current legislation.

Why was the decision taken to have the TPC make any required planning scheme amendment after the MP permit is issued, rather than doing it concurrently as one process like a S43A?

The Major Projects assessment process is not intended as another planning scheme amendment process as already provided for under Part 3, Division 2 of the former provisions of the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) (or the Local Provisions Schedule (LPS) amendment process under Part 3B of LUPAA). The Major Projects process, as in the Project of Regional Significance (PORS) is intended as an assessment process for considering complex development projects regardless of whether they require an amendment to the planning scheme. The process for amending the relevant planning scheme (or planning schemes) is at the end of the Major Projects process (i.e. after the approval of the development) as it may, or may not, be required for the development. The combined planning scheme amendment and permit process under LUPAA also functions on the basis of the development being ‘prohibited’ by the planning scheme. An amendment made to the planning scheme following the approval of a Major Project may not be necessary to actually facilitate the development, but instead may be undertaken to better align the planning scheme with the approved development (e.g. realigning a Utilities Zone to match the approved new road corridor or major energy facility, etc.)

Would you look to expand the project-associated Acts to include more Acts of the RMPS – such as Water Management Act, especially if the major projects process is intended for larger infrastructure projects?

If the requirement for another form of permit emerges as a matter that would be better integrated, there is no specific reason why this could not be added at a future date. The Water Management Act 1999 was considered but analysis of the processes under that Act indicates that a permit for a dam is predominantly one of specifying engineering requirements rather than assessing impacts on land use and can be issued much quicker than a permit for a major project, and on this basis, it is considered appropriate to leave that permit process separate to the Major Projects process.

What land owner consents are required?

The land owner consent situation reflects what is already in place for ordinary LUPAA permits – ie. it is not required where private land is involved but is required for publicly owned land (Council or Crown). Wellington Park Trust Authority is also required if the land is within the Park (note the Trust doesn’t own land)

Why is a Major Project required to be “not inconsistent” with the RLUS? Why can’t deviations from the RLUS be considered as part of the assessment?

It is intended that a Major Project must sit within the existing policy and strategic framework, including that set by a Regional Land Use Strategy (RLUS). This will ensure that the major project process is a different process to the existing Project of State Significance (POSS) process, which is able to include variation from a RLUS. While a Major Project is not required to be consistent with the planning scheme, like a s.43A combined development application and scheme amendment, it must not be outside the RLUS. There is a subtle difference between PORS and the MP test with regard to the RLUS, in that the former requires consistency while the latter allows projects that the RLUS might be silent on but not clearly inconsistent. The assessment of changes to RLUS requires broader strategic considerations and consultation with different bodies on different issues. RLUSs set 10-20 year visions for regions while planning schemes may articulate that for a 5 year period. A proposal may simply be ‘brought forward’ while still within the scope of the agreed RLUS. It is important that the planning system retains predictability of the longer term settings provided by policies and strategies, rather than allowing individual developments to shape the higher level parts of the system.

The Government is conscious that the framework for developing, reviewing and implementing RLUSs needs to be enhanced. This is flagged as the third part of the planning reform agenda following the implementation of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme and the development of the Tasmanian Planning Policies.

Should there be an entire review of the RMPS?

The planning reform agenda represents the most significant recasting of the key planning system parts of the RMPS since its commencement in 1994. The reforms include a different approach to the content and scope of the planning scheme, the preparation of a suite of planning policies to operate statewide, and the enhancement of the regional planning framework.

Should the timeframes in the MP process be made shorter?

The timeframes in the major project process at each stage of the process are considered to be just long enough to allow the various actions to occur and shrinking them further could reduce the robustness of the assessment process, as it has potential to require regulators, Councils or the Panel to rush the formation of their views.

Should the eligibility criteria adopt the NSW model of listing every possible project?

The eligibility criteria has been designed to accommodate a range of projects that may occur in the future. As these future projects are not known, the criteria are expressed to accommodate the projects when they are proposed. The risk with setting a defined list, like they do in NSW, is that a ‘good idea’ could be left off simply because nobody thought of it at the time – and the consequence is that ‘good idea’ could then not be considered under the major projects process. However, the certainty of a defined list is acknowledged.