Section 19 Notice – Public exhibition of certain documents

Two notices have been issued by the Premier of Tasmania, with the approval of the State Controller, under section 19 of the COVID-19 Act providing alternative arrangements for the public exhibition of various local council documents, specifically if the local council offices have been required to close as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.

Providing alternative arrangements are important for allowing continuity of business, while also providing reasonable opportunities for the public to have access to the documents.

The notices issued so far include:

What documents are covered by the notice issued on 3 April 2020?

This notice provides alternate arrangements for the display and exhibition of a range of local council documents, including:

  • the register of council delegations for decision making;
  • a notice relating to any single or joint authorities established by the council;
  • the display of any proposed and adopted council strategic or annual plans;
  • a notice of any proposed council by-law;
  • the list of council fees and charges; and
  • a notice relating to council meetings including the agenda and associated documents and meeting minutes.

Instead of displaying the documents at the relevant council offices, the notice provides for the documents to be:

  • available for viewing on the website of the relevant local council; and
  • available in hardcopy, on request by phone, for a fee that represents the cost of reproducing the documents for collection from a nominated location.

What are the alternate arrangements for the public exhibition of development applications and planning scheme amendments?

The notice issued on 24 April 2020 provides alternate arrangements for the public exhibition of documents that are required to be made available at the relevant local council’s office in accordance with the Land Use Planning and Approvals Regulations 2014 (the LUPA Regulations), for:

  • an application for a discretionary planning permit;
  • a draft planning scheme amendment; and
  • a notice of approval of a draft planning scheme amendment.

Instead of displaying the documents at the relevant council offices, the notice provides for the documents to be:

  • available for viewing at the website of the relevant local council; and
  • available in hardcopy, on request by phone, for a fee that represents the cost of reproducing the documents for collection from a nominated location or sent to a nominated address by post.

What are the alternate arrangements for the public exhibition of draft Local Provisions Schedules (LPSs) and amendments to LPSs and the State Planning Provisions (SPPs)?

The notice issued on 22 May 2020 provides alternate arrangements for the public exhibition of documents that are required to be made available at the relevant local council’s office or the office of the Tasmanian Planning Commission (the Commission) in accordance with the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 and the Land Use Planning and Approvals Regulations 2014, for:

  • a draft LPS;
  • a notice of approval of a LPS;
  • a draft amendment of a LPS;
  • a notice of approval of an amendment of a LPS; and
  • a draft amendment of the SPPs.

Instead of displaying the documents at the relevant offices, the notice provides for the documents to be:

  • available for viewing at the website of the relevant local council; and
  • available in a digital or hardcopy form, on request by phone, for a fee that represents the cost of reproducing the documents for collection from a nominated location or sent to a nominated address by post.

What happens if public exhibition of the relevant documents commenced prior to the issue of the notice?

Closure of the local council offices part way through a public exhibition period would, in most cases, mean that the local council is unable to fulfil its duties for exhibition of the documents in accordance with the legislated requirements. Similarly, for documents that are required to be viewable at the offices of the Tasmanian Planning Commission.

The notice provides for public exhibition to lawfully continue in accordance with alternative arrangements.

Each local council, and the Commission (where applicable), will determine how they proceed if changes to the public exhibition arrangements are required part way through an exhibition period. This may include:

  • restarting the public exhibition period under new arrangements; or
  • continuing the existing public exhibition period, but in accordance with the alternative arrangements.

In either situation, a new public notice should be published in the newspaper advising of the new public exhibition arrangements in a published newspaper notice.

Do the new arrangements apply if the council offices remain open to the public, or if they re-open to the public?

The notice is only intended to provide alternative arrangements for the public exhibition of documents if it is no longer possible to make them available at their offices for the public to view. However, the alternative arrangements may also provide alternative options for the public to view the documents if they are unable, or feel uncomfortable, to attend the relevant office.

Public exhibition arrangements will largely remain unchanged if the local council is still able to make the documents available at their offices for the public to view in accordance with the normal requirements.

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.