Major Projects Process = Major Problem

Media release – Residents Opposed to the Cable Car, 14 May 2020

Major Projects process a major problem in the making

Residents Opposed to the Cable Car (ROCC) has made an extensive submission to the consultation process over the Gutwein Government’s Major Project Bill. Consultation closes tomorrow despite calls for a deferral due to the current State of Emergency, as has happened with the development of the Government’s poker machine policy.

ROCC calls for the Major Projects Bill to be withdrawn and existing processes such as the Project of State Significance and unused Project of Regional Significance processes retained.

Key issues with the Major Projects Bill include:

  • Absolute Ministerial desertion on the declaration of a Major Project based on vague criteria that lack parameters;
  • Proposals can be stripped from local council assessment processes, even if part way through assessment, or reassessed as a Major Project if refused a planning permit;
  • No public consultation on the guidelines by which a project is to be assessed;
  • Assessment and approval by a panel that is not subject to normal Code of Conduct requirements;
  • No opportunity for public comment until AFTER the panel issues a draft assessment report and no role for local councils;
  • Approvals can be granted even if a development is found to contravene the relevant planning scheme or reserve management plan;
  • No opportunity is given for merit-based appeal by third parties, including neighbours and other affected parties;
  • It is being progressed parallel with other, significant reviews such as the Tasmanian Planning Commission and Federal Environment laws (EPBC Act).

“This is a fast-track, shortcut approval process tailor-made for complex, controversial projects that would struggle to make it through a proper assessment and approval process,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for ROCC.

“Recent commitments that the Government would not use this process to assess the cable car proposal for kunanyi/Mt Wellington offers little comfort as it does nothing to bind a future government or alternative proposal to commercialise kunanyi/Mt Wellington.”

“This is bad legislation that sidelines the community and existing planning rules to prioritise the interest of developers. It removes any recourse for legal challenge and will lead to both bad development decisions and increased community conflict. The Major Projects Bill should be abandoned.”

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