Tasmania

Tasmanian Government releases more details about Planning Reform Taskforce and Department of State Growth

THE Tasmanian Government has announced the membership of its new Planning Reform Taskforce, as well as revealing more details about the new Department of State Growth and an expanded HomeShare program.

Treasurer and Minister for Planning and Local Government Peter Gutwein this month said the Planning Reform Taskforce will be responsible for providing advice on the development and implementation of a single state-wide planning scheme that is fairer, faster, cheaper and simpler.

Mr Gutwein said that those joining Executive Chair Mary Massina on the Taskforce will be:

  • Alan Garcia – CEO of the Local Government Association of Tasmania;
  • Michael Kerschbaum – Executive Director of the Master Builders' Association of Tasmania;
  • Jan Davis – CEO of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers' Association;
  • Michael Bailey – CEO of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
  • Emma Riley – a highly qualified planner and former State President of the Planning Institute of Australia;
  • Andrew Walker – Director of Dobson Mitchell and Allport Pty Ltd and a legal practitioner;
  • Fraser Read – Principal of All Urban Planning Pty Ltd and qualified town planner; and
  • John Dent – Director of PDA Surveyors with almost 30 years' experience in the planning approval process.

"The Taskforce has the right mix of experience and skills to advise on the development of an appropriate planning and approvals system which will help grow the economy and create jobs," Mr Gutwein said.

Mr Gutwein added that the broad representation on the Taskforce of stakeholder groups, including representatives of local government and industry groups along with planning and development professionals, will ensure he is provided with informed and current advice.

"Tasmania's overly complex planning system has been a handbrake on investment and jobs and we will establish a planning system that is  fairer, faster, cheaper and simpler, and ensure that Tasmania is once again open for business," he said.

Last week, the government said it was delivering on its election commitment to overhaul the HomeShare program, with the cap for assistance lifted from 25 per cent of the purchase price or $50,000 up to 30 per cent or $55,000.

Under the change, the asset and income limits for applicants have also been raised, allowing more Tasmanians on moderate incomes to take advantage of the scheme. Different income limits will now apply for singles and couples.

For the first time, HomeShare will also be available to all public housing tenants who are able to afford a loan, giving them the opportunity to take the step from renting to home ownership.

The scheme, which shares the cost of buying a new home with the Director of Housing, can be used to purchase properties owned by the Director of Housing, newly built homes and house and land packages.

Also last week, State Growth Minister Matthew Groom released more details of the new Department of State Growth, which will be formed using the existing capabilities and services provided by the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, and the of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts (DEDTA).

Mr Groom said that effective from 1 July 2014, the following changes will be applied across a number of departments:

  • The Office for the Coordinator General will be established in the new Department of State Growth with the Coordinator General reporting directly to the Minister for State Growth;
  • Skills Tasmania will join the new Department of State Growth;
  • Infrastructure Tasmania will be established as a new office and will be supported within the new Department of State Growth, reporting directly to the Minister for Infrastructure;
  • The new Planning Reform Taskforce will be housed within the Department of State Growth and report directly to the Minister for Planning;
  • A new AgriGrowth Division will be formed within the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, which will establish a collaborative partnership with the new Department of State Growth; and
  • Sport and Recreation Tasmanian, which is currently part of DEDTA, will transfer to the Department of Premier and Cabinet to ensure it continues a whole Government focus on health and wellbeing of Tasmanians.

"Bringing together these elements of government and ensuring they have a coordinated focus will maximise outcomes for our economy," Mr Groom said.

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