Tasmania's local government sector could look at changing the way planning decisions are made in the state, which an alliance of community groups says may prove to be an even bigger reform than council amalgamations.
At the Local Government Association of Tasmania general meeting at Devonport's paranaple convention centre today, delegates from the state's 29 councils will hear a motion regarding planning-related decision-making.
LGAT chief executive Dion Lester said the motion was being brought by the Burnie City Council.
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"A decision will be made ... as to whether LGAT undertakes an investigation around the alternative options for the role of the planning authority," he said.
Specifically, the motion seeks to gauge support from councils as to whether or not LGAT should investigate proposing an amendment to the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act, which would:
Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania, which is made up of close to 70 community groups, has written to every councillor in the state, urging them to oppose the motion.
State convenor Sophie Underwood said PMAT wanted planning decisions to "stay within local government".
"It's a massive reform," she said. "To me it's even bigger than amalgamation."
"Local government ... is the closest sphere of government to the people so [planning decisions] are a really important way of protecting community values.
"Whereas if it's taken away from local councils, then you might have some review panel in Hobart making decisions about the North-West Coast or Launceston. And it's those councils that are ... best placed to make those decisions because they understand ... the constraints, they understand the infrastucture.
It's a massive reform. To me it's even bigger than amalgamation.- Sophie Underwood, Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania state convenor
"They understand the place, ultimately."
But Property Council of Australia Tasmanian executive director Rebecca Ellston said she welcomed any efforts to expedite planning, building and plumbing approvals in the state.
"What the industry needs at the earliest opportunity is the full implementation of a fair, streamlined and effective state-wide planning scheme and approvals mechanisms that will facilitate consistent and timely planning and other permit decisions," she said.
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