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    Proposed overhaul of Tasmanian planning regulations would give state more power

    Kirsty Sier

    Earlier this week, the Tasmanian government released draft legislation that brings a sweeping overhaul of the state’s planning regulations one step closer.

    Proposed new planning regulations would see a significant shift of power from local bodies to the state government. In particular, the government would have a much-increased ability to exert sway over “major” development projects.

    Under the new proposal, changes would be made to the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 whereby the state government could “call in” major projects from local authorities in cases where planning assessments have experienced “unreasonable delays”.

    The new process would replace the current Projects of Regional Significance process, and provide a more streamlined approach to projects that are seen to be “larger, more complex and have broader economic, environmental and social impacts beyond a single municipal area”. As part of this streamlining, a single planning permit would be introduced to cover the approval of environmental, Aboriginal and heritage developments.

    According to Tasmanian planning minister, Peter Gutwein, the approval of “very tall” buildings would be left at the discretion of local authorities, all of which have their own existing planning schemes.

    “We believe that local communities through their councils should determine what the appropriate building height is for their community,” says Gutwein.

    One such project currently under consideration is the 180-metre skyscraper, designed by Xsquared Architects, that would become Hobart’s tallest building by a far stretch.

    The public is invited to comment on the proposed legislative changes until 2 October 2017.

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