Section 14 Notice – Amendments to planning permits
On 31 March 2021, a notice was issued by the Premier of Tasmania, with the approval of the Emergency Manager (Director of Public Health), under section 14 of the COVID-19 Act. The section 14 notice is available for viewing in the Tasmanian Government Gazette of 1 April 2021.
The notice provides for alteration to existing planning permit conditions to allow for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine program.
Why is the notice required?
The Government’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines will require the use of many sites around the state, such as medical centres, hospitals, health centres, pharmacies and potentially a range of public buildings. Many of these sites have existing planning permits that limit the uses on the site or have conditions that limit the operating hours of the particular business.
To deliver a timely vaccine rollout, it may be necessary for the vaccine sites to remain open for longer periods than their current planning permit allows, or simply ensure that administering the vaccine is an allowed use of the site.
The timely rollout of the vaccines is a very important step in the economic and social recovery of the State and it should not be restricted by planning authorities being obliged under the law to undertake enforcement or compliance action against any of these businesses/sites over the issue of extended operating hours or use of the site when it relates to delivering the vaccines.
What does the notice do?
The Notice provides for the following:
- variation to provisions on planning permits to extend operating hours of certain business who will administer the COVID-19 vaccines (Section 14 Notice)
- variation to provisions on planning permits to allow additional sites to administer the COVID-19 vaccines (Section 14 Notice)
The notice will enable those businesses or government service providers who have been chosen by the Department of Health to administer the COVID-19 vaccines to operate outside the operating hours that are specified in the relevant planning permits.
The notice will do this by amending any relevant condition so that the operating hours are 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, if the purpose of extending the operating hours is for administering the COVID-19 vaccines.
An example could be a chemist that has operating hours specified on its planning permit to be between 7am and 7pm. Under the notice, the chemist will be able to extend its operating hours if it is for the purpose of administering the COVID-19 vaccine.
The effect of the notice means that a relevant planning authority will not be able to take compliance action on the business on the basis of not adhering to operating hours, provided the business is extending its hours only for the purpose of administering the COVID-19 vaccines.
There are also some sites around the state that are selected by the Department of Health to use for administering the COVID-19 vaccines where the relevant permits may not give approval for this use.
For approval to administer the COVID-19 vaccines, either the Hospital Services use class or Business and Professional Services use class is required.
The second part of the notice provides for the sites that are selected by the Department of Health to use for administering the COVID-19 vaccines to be allowed to administer the COVID-19 vaccines by amending the approved use of the site.
The effect of the notice means that a relevant planning authority will not be able to take enforcement or compliance action on the business/site on the basis that the permit does not provide for the use of the site to administer the COVID-19 vaccines.
How long does the notice remain in effect?
The notice will remain in effect for 12 months, unless revoked earlier.
The COVID-19 Act provides for notices to be revoked or amended. All notices are automatically revoked 60 days after the end of the emergency period as declared by the Premier.