Bid to re­move coun­cil power

Push for con­sis­tent, ef­fi­cient plan­ning

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT - HE­LEN KEMPTON

A TAS­MA­NIAN real es­tate heavy­weight says au­thor­ity for plan­ning de­ci­sions should be re­moved from lo­cal govern­ment and given to a new state de­part­ment.

Hank Petrusma, a di­rec­tor of EIS Prop­erty and the found­ing chair of Com­mon Ground, says a new state de­part­ment of plan­ning, devel­op­ment and the en­vi­ron­ment could op­er­ate through Ser­vice Tas­ma­nia.

“This would pro­vide a con­sis­tent ap­proach and re­move the im­ped­i­ment of al­der­men and coun­cil­lors some­times bas­ing de­ci­sions on emo­tion and per­sonal pref­er­ence rather than com­pli­ance with the plan­ning scheme,” Mr Petrusma said.

“This should also pro­vide faster as­sess­ment and ap­proval times, which can be painfully slow.”

He said if plan­ning must stay with lo­cal govern­ment, one ded­i­cated plan­ner should be as­signed to each pro­posal to stream­line the process and en­sure things do not grind to a halt be­cause a worker is on leave.

“As things stand, the ap­proval and han­dover process can come to a halt be­cause a coun­cil of­fi­cer is on hol­i­days or un­avail­able,” he said.

“De­vel­op­ers run full-time busi­nesses and costs don’t stop ac­cu­mu­lat­ing just be­cause some­one is on leave.”

Hous­ing Min­is­ter Roger Jaen­sch said it was ap­pro­pri­ate coun­cils act as the plan­ning au­thor­ity for their re­spec­tive mu­nic­i­pal ar­eas.

“The State Govern­ment is putting into place Aus­tralia’s first sin­gle, statewide plan­ning scheme to pro­vide un­prece­dented con­sis­tency and cer­tainty to our plan­ning sys­tem,” Mr Jaen­sch said. “The new statewide plan­ning scheme will make land use and devel­op­ment fairer, sim­pler and clearer for all Tas­ma­ni­ans.”

Mr Petrusma said cur­rently it could take many months, or even years, for de­vel­op­ers be­hind small res­i­den­tial projects to get the go ahead.

“There is a re­luc­tance to make de­ci­sions. There is a gross lack of re­sources in coun­cil plan­ning de­part­ments. In many cases these small de­vel­op­ers sim­ply give up,” he said.

He said statu­tory time frames should be pro­vided for devel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions and build­ing plans.

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