Planning for Housing Affordability

The Property Council today reiterated its support for improvements to planning legislation in Tasmania.

“Tasmania is experiencing improving economic conditions, beginning in Hobart, and now more evident state-wide.

“The strengthening of planning legislation which ensures job creating investments are approved in a more streamlined and consistent fashion is always most welcomed,” the Property Council of Australia's Tasmanian executive director Brian Wightman said.

Mr Wightman offered that for many years the planning regime in Tasmania could be best described as inconsistent.

“The frustration levels of investors, developers, planners, architects, engineers and lawyers just to name a few has gradually increased over time resulting in sustained and proactive advocacy for change by industry representative bodies such as the Property Council of Australia. 

“Most positively, in recent years there has been a move to enhanced uniformity with the introduction of the Interim Schemes, which admittedly while not perfect, have delivered significant improvement to the suite of Tasmanian planning laws,” he said.

The Property Council praised the work of the Planning Reform Taskforce, and looked forward to examining the additional proposed legislation which should lead to increased private sector confidence, further investment opportunities, jobs, and measures to capitalise on housing affordability.

“Housing affordability remains an opportunity for our state.

“The notion that planning reforms will deliver the demise of the Tasmanian way of life is a total over reaction.

“In fact, it fails to recognise that we should be putting measures in place to ensure that even more Tasmanians can enter the housing market.

“Not every resident wishes to be mowing the lawn every week during spring.

“Nor can every Tasmanian afford a traditional quarter or half acre block.

 We need to add to the attraction of Tasmania as a place to move; to raise a family, find a job and build an affordable home.  Housing options must be flexible to meet the needs of people at different stages of their lives.

“A residential dwelling approved within 24 hours is an excellent initiative, which when coupled with the First Home Builders Grant of $20,000, and preferably $30,000 will make Tasmania an outstanding place to invest,” he said.

Mr Wightman also acknowledged the plan of the State Government to implement Development Assessment Panels, an idea which the Property Council had championed for many years.

“It’s fantastic news that the State Government has heeded the calls of the Property Council to implement Development Assessment Panels.

“Independent, expert planning panels, free from the perceived political influence of the local government sector is just what this state needs to determine the merits of significant projects,” he said.

Mr Wightman praised the State Government for its commitment to regulatory reform.

“The recent focus on the Building Regulatory Framework Review and subsequent legislative amendments along with the State Government’s commitment to a twenty per cent reduction in unnecessary regulation has complemented the introduction of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme,” he said.