TASMANIAN Planning Minister Bryan Green yesterday said planning reform in Tasmania continued to gain momentum with the implementation of the new residential building code to cut costs and speed up approvals.
Mr Green said the new statewide single dwelling residential code (Planning Directive No. 4), which came into effect this week, will streamline approvals and cut red tape for residential development.
The code contains a set of six planning standards and aims to simplify and streamline the assessment and approval of new houses and related structures as well as extensions and alterations to individual homes.
The standards cover setback from frontage, site coverage and rear setback, building envelope, frontage setback and width of garages and carports, privacy, frontage fences.
Mr Green said the statewide code reduces the extent to which a planning authority can intervene in the house development process.
In the majority of cases, a single dwelling development will not have to go through the planning approval process if it meets all standards contained in the code.
"Currently there were 38 planning schemes administered by 29 councils and the controls for building a house could be different on one side of the road from the other," Mr Green said.
The Minister also said the government was now well advanced with developing a new code for multi-dwellings such as residential units.
"We will be consulting with key industry stakeholders in the coming weeks to progress the reform."
Mr Green said the Government had committed $6 million over the next four years to ensure planning laws keep pace with the aspirations of local communities and potential investors.
"We are implementing reforms for all types of development from residential through to larger developments under new local government planning schemes based on standardised State-wide template.
"Planning reform is a key priority of the Government because we want Tasmania to be a more attractive place to live and invest," Mr Green said.
Executive Director of the Tasmanian Branch of the Housing Industry Association, Stuart Clues, said the new single dwelling residential code was something the Tasmanian building industry has been waiting for.
"This new code will dramatically improve the benefits to ordinary Tasmanians, councils and the wider economy," Mr Clues said.
Michael Kerschbaum, Executive Director of Master Builders Tasmania, said the single dwelling residential code will for the first time, provide builders, architects and surveyors with greater consistency across the local government boundaries.
"This will streamline development assessment and cut red tape, without sacrificing the quality of the decision making," Mr Kerschbaum said.