It appears the statewide planning scheme that has been promised for too long can't come quick enough.
Hopefully, it will help simplify the integrated web of confusing, complex and money-driven planning schemes and regulations that developers and small business owners have to untangle.
There are not many sectors that don't believe the existing system is holding Tasmania back, so it's time councils got their act together and hastily agreed to terms of a statewide scheme to help overcome the bureaucratic mess. Errol Stewart's decision to kill off his Kings Wharf residential towers because it is "almost impossible to navigate the planning approval process" is the perfect example of a Draconian system that has developers dealing with various authorities.
Reform may not have saved the towers, but the outcome proves a point.
Aside from a planning scheme and a need for regulated timeframes for organisations like the Environmental Protection Authority, TasNetworks and so on to action reports, council amalgamations are a must and planning responsibility must not fall to councillors. The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce's latest Tasmania Report again called for the state's 29 councils to be reduced, a political hot potato that no Tasmanian party has yet moved on. Amalgamations should not be voluntary, they should be forced because a lack of efficiencies is holding Tasmania back.
Three super councils in a state with a small population with regional offices spread out across the regions sounds like the perfect scenario. Strong leadership from all political persuasions is needed now.
Councillors are not planners. These decisions should be made by professionals.
Councillors don't often understand the scheme and how a proposal fits within the scheme and are regularly pressured into making decisions to please their constituents rather than what is in the broader community and state's best interests.
The fact councillors act in the role of planners to make judgments on development applications is clumsy. Emotion must be taken out of decision making in order for reform to occur.