The Liberal government has put out a discussion paper on its Planning Law changes,
including the introduction of Development Assessment Panels.
Position Paper – Development Assessment Panel Framework – October 2023 (PDF, 483.9 KB)
This quote comes from the position paper at 3.1
Despite the statistical evidence, there remains a perception that some Councils are less
supportive of new development than others and that on occasion the personal views of
elected councillors in relation to a proposed development, ….
“The governments own discussion paper admits that the problem is really only one of
perception and very few DAs are held up by councils due to politics or a failure of the
councils to do there job.”
“What the government is trying to do here is fix a problem that does not exist. The cable
car failed because it was a poorly thought out project which was not well presented by the
RIGHT TO INFORMATION REQUEST
Residents Opposed to the Cable Car submitted an RTI in 2019 and the information
requested has just been released. See the attached letter below.
While the delay is frustrating, what has been released included a letter from the Hobart
City Council to the cable car proponent MWCC. What this letter shows is that MWCC were
asked for more information on numerous occasions around June of 2019.
The letter shows that despite the requests the company had still not satisfied the request
for further information on a range of issues by 17 January 2020 some 6 months later.
“The delays in providing the necessary information held up the approvals process and no
special track to approval such as the proposed ‘Development Assessment Panels’ would
have made any difference”
“The Cable Car project failed because it did not comply with the Planning Scheme”
“There is no demonstrated need for DAPs and the cable car is a perfect example of the
current system working properly. The Hobart City Council made a timely decision and on
appeal by the proponent to TasCAT the appeal was rejected and the council shown to
have made the correct decision.”
We shouldn’t have to be writing to you about this. In November 2022 TASCAT affirmed the decision of the Hobart City Council to reject the proposal for a cable car across the Organ Pipes and a large tourist centre/restaurant near the Pinnacle. That should have been the end of it but…
– on the 28th of February this year Premier Rockliff had this to say at the ‘State of the State Address’:“I am committed not only to the Cradle Valley Cableway, but also a cableway on Kunanyi/Mt Wellington, and I have sought advice on developing a pathway to support this to happen.”
Now we can see what that pathway is. Planning Minister Ferguson made the attached statement on the 19th of October.
This statement has a link to a position paper which makes interesting reading, not least due to the disparity between the acknowledged facts and the proposed response. By way of example, the following is from page 8:
“Despite the statistical evidence, there remains a perception that some Councils are less supportive of new development than others and that on occasion the personal views of elected councillors in relation to a proposed development, such as large-scale apartments, or social housing, may influence their decision-making despite being outside of the relevant planning scheme considerations they are bound to administer as part of the obligations of a planning authority.”
Of course we know that this “perception” is almost entirely driven by elements of the pro development lobby.
For most of us if our views do not accord with the evidence, it is time to modify our views. Not this government! They want to push through a change to planning law that could give developers the right to have their proposals assessed by a Development Assessment Panel instead of by Council. Furthermore, the Minister could be given authority to initiate changes to the Planning Scheme to make it more sympathetic to the development.
I would urge you to read the position paper attached and make a submission in response.
Submissions close 5pm on the 30th of November.
These proposals have already come up against a lot of community opposition. They had initially been part of the Review of Local Government but were withdrawn from that process presumably due to community backlash. Hence we need to drive home that community opposition now that they have reappeared.
Planning Matters Alliance Tasmania has put out the attached media release.
So, tedious though it is, we once more need to make our voices heard to protect the mountain. This time it is by fighting to retain local control over planning decisions.
At this stage that is by responding to the Position Paper. Late,r it may be by lobbying politicians.
If you don’t have the time to engage with the Position Paper you can still help by giving the State Planning Office the following feedback:
– Keep planning local and democratic.
– Don’t take planning away from Local Government.
– Don’t give the Minister the power to change the Local Planning Scheme.
Hello to all our supporters fighting to keep kunanyi cable car free.
Thank you Vica
First, I must say a huge thank you to Vica Bayley who, as the primary driver of our fight to stop the cable car in recent years, has been elected to the House of Assembly as a Greens member. We wish him the absolute best as he continues the fight to protect our wonderful lifestyle and environment.
Vica saw the process through TASCAT where the proponent exercised their right to appeal the HCC decision and, as we know they lost that appeal. The complexity of our legal representation and the processes of TASCAT were enormous and we thank Vica for his dedication to the mountain.
New Planning Body
The second issue to take us all by surprise was the announcement by the Rockliff government of a new planning body to by-pass the local council. While this announcement is seen by most as a weakening of our planning laws, we have been advised that a Mercury journalist was assured by a spokesperson for the government that the legislation would not be used to facilitate the cable car.
We will of course be holding them to that.
Wellington Park Management Plan Review
The most pressing issue for all of us now is the review of the Wellington Park Management Plan.
This could of course be an opportunity to strengthen the protections for the mountain against inappropriate developments but equally it could be used to water down those provisions of the previous plan which successfully saw the cable car DA rejected by both the council and the TASCAT.
ROCC will be putting in submissions at the various stages of this review. We note however that the last time the Wellington Park Trust altered the Plan was to approve a change to the Pinnacle Specific Area to accommodate the cable car proposal. This was done despite overwhelming opposition from the public. Indeed, at the end of the consultation process the Trust were heavily criticised by TASCAT but still approved the change to the plan. As you can no doubt tell I am sceptical of the process and its outcomes. Having said that we must participate and be diligent.
MWCC have publicly called for the Management Plan to be changed to suit the company’s purposes and the MWCC are actively encouraging people to use the Management Plan Review comment boxes to ask for the Plan to be changed to align with the cable car proposal.
I urge you to have a look at the Wellington Park Trust website https://wellingtonpark.org.au/step-1-park-values to understand the process and to take part. The process has started with a review of the values within the park. It takes the form of a survey.
In the comments section you might add your own comments like – “the Management Plan should be changed to explicitly prohibit a cable car across the Organ Pipes and prohibit construction of any large structures on the Pinnacle.”
If you feel the values that have been set out are wrong or not complete, then have your say. You can also make a more detailed submission adding values that you might feel are important. The review of values closes on 15th Sept 2023.
This process will take time and a draft management plan is not expected until early 2025.
Please get involved and thank you for being part of the continuing fight to protect the mountain.
for Residents Opposed to the Cable Car
Due in this week!
We’ve ordered a new batch of the fantastic Dolerite not Dollars tshirts, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to get one.
The Premier Jeremy Rockliff claims that too many development proposals are held up or opposed in Councils across our state but he is ignoring the reality that most of these fail because they do not meet the relevant planning scheme.
The Cable Car is a prime example of a project which was rejected by the community then rejected by the Carlton and United Breweries, then rejected by the Hobart City Council and finally rejected comprehensively by the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The project failed because it did not meet the requirements of the planning laws.
“This latest proposal from a dying government is yet another attempt to reduce the role of local government and thereby reduce the public’s input into decision making around developments that directly affect them.”
“Poorly designed proposals which do not meet the community expectations or planning scheme requirements, like the Cable Car will always fail”
“Instead of looking for more ways to bypass proper scrutiny and reduce the public’s say in planning we would call on the government to work to protect our wonderful environment such as kunanyi by expediting the review into the Wellington Park Management Plan and including proper consideration of the Aboriginal heritage values.”
Tasmanians have woken up to the 2023 Parliamentary year with Premier Jeremy Rockliff pledging to bypass proper process, sideline the decision of the independent planning adjudicator and find some special new ‘pathway’ to approve the odious kunanyi cable car.
Where does this end?
Despite pledging to govern with ‘heart’, the Premier’s desire to approve the cable car, against the science, planning advice and clear opposition of Hobartians and the Aboriginal Community signals his priorities ignore transparency, proper process and the protection of what makes the state special.
To make matters worse, his ‘Principal Adviser’ on tourism since 2019 (possibly the person responsible for giving advice on the ‘pathway’ to approval) has recently left his office and been appointed to Chair of the Mount Wellington Cableway Company.
Nepotism and farce is alive and well in Premier Rockliff’s Tasmania, as articulated in our joint release with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre – see here.
We don’t yet know how Premier Rockliff proposes to sideline proper process and push through a cable car approval, but this is a perversity that we need to head off. Email local Liberal members Elise Archer and Madeline Ogilvie and cc the Premier Jeremy Rockliff and Labor Leader Rebecca White
Key points we’ll be making in our correspondence include that:
the development has been through the proper, statutory process, including the developer exercising its right to appeal and the cable car was comprehensively rejected on many diverse ground;
the cable car proposal assessed in the appeal before the independent planning tribunal was described by the proponent as its ‘best effort’ and all alternative routes and options had been thoroughly investigated and dismissed;
prolonging the cable car saga with special approval for the Premier’s mates will not succeed and simply further delay progress on genuine solutions to the tourist and visitor pressure facing the mountain;
we will never give up on protecting kunanyi.
Where this all goes is yet to play out, but how it ends is pretty predictable – increased community conflict, more time and money wasted and a complete loss of faith in process and politics. And no cable car, as we’ll never let it happen.
Email your political reps, get your signs back out and make a noise about kunanyi, what she means to you, and what you think of special political deals for a flawed, toxic proposal put forward by people who consistently show incompetence and a complete contempt for the interests of others.
For a cable car-free kunanyi
Residents Opposed to the Cable Car
PS – Visit the ROCC store and get your pro-Mountain merch out and about – see here
Like Respect the Mountain on Facebook and Instagram (@respectthemtn) – for daily posts and up-to-date actions
Despite a comprehensive, independent rejection of the kunanyi cable car proponent’s self-declared ‘best effort’, a new chairman of the Mount Wellington Cableway Company has been appointed to pursue the project once Premier Rockliff decides how to sideline proper process and fast-track an approval for the detested, non-compliant development. The new chair of the company has been, until very recently, ‘Principal Advisor’ in Premier Rockliff’s office, presumably involved in delivering the Premier’s requested advice on ‘developing a pathway to support’[i] the approval of the development.
Nala Mansell, campaigner for The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre condemned the Premier’s lifeline to the project, not least after he this week claimed in his State of the State Address to be ‘working hard’ to listen and learn from Aboriginal people. “This is a dead end project that has failed repeated tests,” Ms Mansell said. “We have been clear about the impact it would have on our heritage and yet Premier Rockliff wants to ride roughshod over our interests, trash our heritage and push on with a new, dodgy approval.”
“This is happening during a review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act, legislation the Government has acknowledged ‘does not provide effective mechanisms for protection’. This is a farce that treats Aboriginal people, our heritage and his own Government’s review with contempt.
Residents Opposed to the Cable Car highlighted the fact that in the Hobart City Council’s consultation process, 72% of a massive 16,000+ representations, opposed the development.
“This is a toxic proposal that has been repeatedly condemned by experts, adjudicators and the community. The planning tribunal accepted that it would not deliver economic or community benefits and it failed to meet environmental, scenic, amenity and geo-heritage requirements.”
“This appointment, straight out of the Premier’s office, looks shonky. Has the new chair been working on Premier Rockliff’s ‘advice’?
“A Premier who promised to govern with ‘heart’ looks set to sideline proper process, be complicit in nepotism and alienate a massive segment of the community that loves kunanyi and appreciates transparency and accountability in Government. This is the Tamar Valley pulp mill all over again, and just look at how that worked out,- for the project, Gunns and Premier Paul Lennon, who left office with a 17% approval rating.”
More information: Nala Mansell Campaign Manager Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre – 0428 662 228 or Vica Bayley Spokesperson ROCC – 0400 644 939
With your support Residents Opposed to the Cable Car joined the planning appeal proceedings in TASCAT and engaged expert evidence to make the case for the values of kunanyi/Mt Wellington and defend her against the cable car.
While we were successful, and TASCAT comprehensively rejected the slightly scaled-down development proposal, it may not be the end that it should be. Many of you would have seen the Rockliff Government, through a junior Minister, the Infrastructure Minister, and the Premier himself, declare their unwavering support for a cable car and urge the proponent to reconsider its plans and have another go.
No one really knows what this means. Is this just chest beating and posturing, or if Premier Rockliff is prepared to pervert proper process and bypass the conventional planning system by using its controversial Major Projects process or some other special deal to finally approve a project proven to be deficient?
Meanwhile, conversations have already started about the transport and other proposals that genuinely address issues associated with so many people visiting the Mountain. Aside from the perversion of proper process, if Premier Rockliff does step in with a special approval it will again displace and delay the exploration of genuine options for the Mountain, with the process and political debate again dominated by the cable car.
Have your say on the future of the Mountain. The Wellington Park Trust is consulting the public on its Draft Visitor and Recreation Strategy, an important document given the relentless visitor and tourism pressure the Mountain is under. Thankfully the strategy doesn’t mention a cable car and is largely a positive vision for public access to the Mountain. Have your say here.
Whatever happens in 2023, the TASCAT appeal process (described by the cable car proponent as its independent, non-biased chance for assessment) was a significant blow to the credibility and prospects of a cable car ever being built on the mountain.
As the year ends, we celebrate the TASCAT decision and stand ready for any new challenge that Premier Rockliff might concoct. Hopefully commonsense prevails and the TASCAT decision is
accepted and respected and progress is made on credible, compliant and socially acceptable options for visitor access and amenity on the Mountain.
A thousand thanks to you for your support over many years. Enjoy the Mountain these holidays and get on her slopes to celebrate the Christmas waratahs. Have your say on the future visitor strategy and stay loud and proud about keeping kunanyi cable car-free.
TASCAT decision should be the end of a kunanyi cable car
Residents Opposed to the Cable Car (ROCC) has welcomed today’s decision of Tasmania’s planning tribunal to refuse a permit for the development of a cable car on kunanyi/Mt Wellington, and thanks the many thousands of people who have joined the campaign to protect kunanyi, donated or made formal submissions.
In the wake of this decision, it is clear the developer has an obligation to abandon its proposal and leave the Mountain cable car-free.
“We’re relieved that this decision is yet another comprehensive rejection of the cable car and thankful to the thousands of people who have stood up for kunanyi, donated to our legal fund and cared enough to take action to protect what is such a special place for so many,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for ROCC.
“This is a clear signal to the proponent, its shareholders and supporters to give up on their vision to privatise the summit of the mountain and abandon this, or any alternative cable car development.
“This saga has cost the community dearly – in time, energy, cohesion and money, and it is time it ended. The developer is the only one that can do that and the onus is on it to accept this decision and allow the community to move on.”
The decision confirms 18 grounds of non-compliance with management and planning provisions, spanning noise and visual impact, geoheritage and biodiversity.
“This is a comprehensive, formal rejection of a development that has never had a social license.”
“This is the eighth incarnation of a cable car on kunanyi and the only one to make to a development application. All have been vigorously opposed by the community and we acknowledge both campaigns past, and colleagues present. This includes our legal team, expert witnesses, other joined parties, Hobart City Councillors and Greens representatives in State and Federal Parliament.”
Key statements from the tribunal decision include:
215 – the Appellant has failed to adequately demonstrate either a significant long term economic community benefit or a significant long term social community benefit.
229 – Therefore the long term impact on vegetation values, insofar that they form habitat for threatened species will not be remedied.
260 – Construction of the pinnacle centre would result in long term or permanent changes to, and loss of visibility of landform features.
342 – The loss (visual amenity) is demonstrated by the manner in which tower 3 and the cables (with or without cable cars) project from the landform above the Organ Pipes escarpment and the cables traverse over the face of the Organ Pipes from a wide range of public and well-used locations.
354 – The form, scale, design and location of the pinnacle centre does not harmonise with the site.