The Tasmanian State Government will introduce legislation in May which aims to provide independent assessment of Major Projects.
The new Major Projects process will provide for the assessment of development proposals of significant scale, impact or complexity, including those that cross municipalities or require assessment under multiple Acts.
Under the process, development proposals can be referred for consideration to be a major project by the proponent, the relevant Council or the Minister for Planning. The Minister’s role in the process ends once a proposal has been declared as a Major Project.
Proposals declared by the Minister to be Major Projects will be assessed by an independent expert Panel specially convened by the Tasmanian Planning Commission.
The Panel will also coordinate a range of other related permit approvals processes as provided for under the Act.
Statutory regulators will undertake their normal assessment and their advice will form part of the consolidated decision on a Major Project permit.
The draft Bill has already been through two rounds of consultation, which identified a range of improvements that have been incorporated in the current draft.
The new Major Projects process will provide confidence to the community that development proposals will undergo rigorous assessment by independent experts, with opportunities for public input.
The new process will also provide greater certainty for developers, with a coordinated approach for multiple permit assessments, set time frames and an early ‘no reasonable prospect’ test to avoid the unnecessary time and financial costs associated with assessing projects that are unlikely to be approved.
The Department of Justice’s Planning Policy Unit will be consulting on the draft Bill for five weeks, prior to its finalisation for tabling in Parliament.