Roger Jaensch, Minister for Planning has outlined his commitment to the construction and building sector as a major contributor to Tasmania’s economy.
In a statement he said the building and construction sector is a major contributor to Tasmania’s economy and will play a vital role in it’s COVID-19 recovery providing jobs, homes and opportunities for Tasmanians.
He said it is important that we keep the sector strong and ensure that the pipeline of projects and investment remains full, and that disruptions are minimised.
The Tasmanian Government has welcomed the national agreement, which will help to ensure that planning assessments and approvals can continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to protect jobs and support the economy.
Planning ministers at State and Federal level, and the Australian Local Government Association, have agreed on a set of principles for how planning systems should operate during this time.
Mr. Jaensch said the impact of the pandemic means swift changes to planning regimes are necessary to ensure development applications can still be properly assessed and approved, and that other planning regulations can be amended to deal with current health and economic challenges.
The following agreed principles, which will be each State’s responsibility to implement, will ensure the community can continue to have confidence in the integrity of our planning systems:
- Decision making in the public interest is a paramount theme in all planning systems and this must continue as a guiding consideration.
- Transparency for stakeholders about changes to systems and particular decisions.
- Decisions made within jurisdictions are consistent, where possible.
- Consideration of the level of public interest in a particular planning change or development proposal.
- Balancing administrative and legal review rights with the need to address the pandemic emergency and to assist community and economic recovery.
- All reasonable effort is made to maintain the usual pace of planning approvals recognising, as far as practical, community consultation will continue through new forms of communication recognising social distancing requirements.
Mr. Jaensch said the Tasmanian Government has already implemented measures consistent with these principles to ensure development assessment and approvals processes can be kept open, and applications can continue to be processed.
“We have provided for increased flexibility in administrative functions and proceedings of tribunals and planning authorities, including allowing for councils to meet via teleconference and videoconference as well as authorise and sign certain documents electronically,” he said.
“We have also enabled for documents that would ordinarily need to be available at council offices in hard copy to instead be accessible online.”
The Tasmanian Government will continue to identify and implement ways to ensure that essential planning processes, and associated public participation, can continue throughout the coronavirus emergency.
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