Tasmanian councils are sticking with the "status quo", after a motion to investigate the removal of planning powers from local government was comprehensively defeated at a meeting of the sector's peak body.
Moved by the Burnie City Council, the proposal for the Local Government Association of Tasmania to look into taking councils' planning function away from them failed to garner the requisite support at a meeting in Devonport today.
It's understood the final vote was 16 for and 39 against, with two abstaining.
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"So it's status quo," LGAT chief executive Dion Lester, speaking after the general meeting, said.
He explained that the voting system wasn't predicated on a "one council, one vote" arrangement.
"We've got a representative-type voting system," Mr Lester said. "Larger councils carry more votes. It's weighted."
The motion sought to investigate an amendment to the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act to delete the mandatory requirement for a council to act as a planning authority for purposes of evaluating development applications, as well as to provide for an "independent development assessment panel" as an alternative.
Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania state coordinator Sophie Underwood welcomed LGAT's decision.
"Planning defines how our communities look and feel - how we live, work, travel and play and can influence our mental and physical health," Ms Underwood said. "Local councils are the closest level of government to the people and maintaining a strong role for councils in development decisions is the best way to engage and empower communities."
"'Independent' expert panels can lead to poor outcomes for people, local amenity and the environment. One need only look at fish farms and forestry to witness decisions that prioritise industry over community which can lead to ongoing conflict and angst."
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