New policy bid to avoid delays

NEW "call-in powers" for the Planning Minister could be used on developments that are held up in the planning system or "make a significant economic contribution" under a Liberal state planning policy.

The policy says the Planning Minister would have intervening powers for projects that "make a significant economic contribution, require significant capital investment or has been unreasonably delayed in the development assessment process".

The minister would have the discretion to decide what a "significant economic contribution" was, and how long "unreasonably delayed" would be.

It would remove the need for specific legislation to fast-track projects.

A similar power exists under the Projects of Regional Significance assessment.

Other key planning policies include a 24-hour turnaround for home building approval, the establishment of a planning reform taskforce and assessment time of other developments reduced from 42 days to 21.

The planning reform taskforce, made up of local government and industry, would be established immediately after the election to start work on creating a single statewide planning scheme.

In an effort to make the approval system cheaper, developers would not have to engage consultants before full approval with the establishment of an "in-principle approval system" for the early stages of development.

This week the Liberals announced a crackdown on third party appeals of developments, which would remove the right of appeal from "groups expressly set up to oppose development". It was met with anger from interest groups.

The government has previously said that Tasmania leads the nation in development assessment time, and that a statewide planning scheme would add bureaucracy and double the Tasmanian Planning Commission at a cost of $8 million.

The Liberals planning policy:

•"Call-in powers" for the Planning Minister.

•Reduce time frame for other development assessment from 42 days to 21.

•Establish an "in-principle approval system".

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