Assessment and review processes

Overview

Overview

The Commission assesses or reviews a range of resource management and planning matters for the State or for individual councils. It can assess major development projects, including those that might cover more than one council area. The Commission also reviews reports relating to reserve and water management plans, and can undertake inquiries into the future use of public land.

Planning scheme amendments

Planning scheme amendments

Planning schemes are legal documents that set out how land can be used or developed.

In some cases planning schemes may be amended. The process for making amendments is set out in the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993.

The Act also includes a process for a proposal for development to be considered together with an amendment to the planning scheme. For example, an amendment to the zoning, together with an application for a development that will be allowed under the new zoning.

Requests for amendments or a combined permits and amendments are first made to the council. If the council supports the amendment, it must certify it and place it on public display. Any person may then provide comments to the council.  After the council has considered any comments it must report to the Commission.

If there are comments, the Commission usually holds a hearing. A hearing is a public inquiry which provides an opportunity for the Commission to gain a better understanding about the amendment.

The Commission appoints delegates to assess planning scheme amendments, including holding hearings. Delegates for each assessment are appointed based on their relevant skills, experience and expertise.

After its assessment is finished, the Commission may:

  • approve the draft amendment, or
  • modify the draft amendment, or direct the council to do so
  • direct the council to alter the draft amendment to a substantial degree, or
  • reject the draft amendment.

The amendment, if approved, begins on the date set by the Commission, or 7 days later, if no date is set.

How can I comment?

Planning scheme amendments are placed on public display by the council and advertised (usually also on its website).

Anyone can comment by writing to the council during the advertised period. Later, if there is a hearing, the Commission may ask anyone who made comments to attend the hearing and explain their comments in more detail. There is more information about the hearing process on this website.

For information on all planning scheme amendments assessed by the Commission, and recent decisions, go to www.iplan.tas.gov.au.

See the following flowcharts for further information on the processes for amendments and combined permits and amendments:

Minor amendments

Minor amendments

An amendment to correct errors, clarify or remove inconsistencies between the scheme and any Act, that does not change the meaning of the planning scheme, can be treated as a minor amendment. For example, correcting a spelling mistake.

For this type of amendment, the council must get the Commission's agreement that it is a minor amendment. If the Commission agrees that the amendment is minor, it can approve the amendment without advertising or holding a hearing.

How can I comment?

There is no opportunity for public comment if the amendment is a minor amendment.

See the following flowchart for further information on the assessment process for a minor amendment to a planning scheme (pdf, 338.6 KB).

Urgent amendments

Urgent amendments

At any time, an urgent amendment can be made to a planning scheme if it affects the operation of the planning scheme and needs to be changed urgently. Urgent amendments can only be made if the ‘public interest’ is not prejudiced and require the Minister’s authorisation. The council must put the urgent amendment on public display for 14 days once it is approved.

How can I comment?

Council’s display of the urgent amendment is for information only, and there is no opportunity to make comments or for a hearing to be held.

Interim planning schemes

Interim planning schemes

After the Minister has declared an interim planning scheme, the council advertises its interim planning scheme for 42 days. Anyone may make comments in writing to the council during this period. The council then reports to the Commission on the comments received.

The Commission considers the interim planning scheme, the report from council (including the any comments received in the 42 day period), the Regional Land Use Strategy and any relevant State Policies.

The Commission may clarify any issues raised by holding meetings or hearings, inviting the council and anyone who made comments to the council to attend.

The Commission’s task is to consider:

  • the interim planning scheme itself;
  • the council’s report on the interim planning scheme, including its views on any comments received;
  • the Regional Land Use Strategy; and
  • any applicable State policy.

The Commission may do either or both of the following:

  • advise the Minister that an urgent amendment is required, or
  • seek the Minister’s approval to direct the council to amend its interim planning scheme.

How can I comment?

If you made comments to the council when the interim planning scheme was advertised, the Commission will contact you when it is holding a meeting or hearing. If you did not make comments to the council during the advertising period and but now wish to, you may only do so if the Commission’s delegates agree to your request.

For information on all interim planning scheme assessments currently being undertaken by the Commission, go to www.iplan.tas.gov.au.

Planning directives

Planning directives

Planning directives are statutory documents issued by the Minister to give direction, on a range of planning matters. They have been used to require that standard state-wide provisions are included in each council’s planning scheme.

After a draft planning directive is prepared, the Minister for Planning must decide whether it should be assessed. If it proceeds to assessment, the Commission is directed by the Minister to assess it.

The Commission then informs agencies, councils or others potentially affected by the draft planning directive and invites comments.

As part of its assessment of the draft planning directive, the Commission may hold a hearing.

The Commission reports to the Minister with its findings and recommends whether or not a draft planning directive, or a modified draft planning directive, should be issued.

The  Minister may then either issue or decide not to issue a planning directive.

How can I comment?

The Commission will invite comments at the beginning of its assessment of the draft planning directive. Those who made comments will have the opportunity to make presentations to any hearing that may follow.

Projects of State significance

Projects of State significance

Projects of State significance are major development proposals that potentially have state-wide effects.  They are assessed under the State Policies and Projects Act 1993.

If the Minister responsible considers that a project is of State significance, he or she may recommend that the Governor declares the proposal to be a 'project of State significance'. This must then be approved by Parliament before an assessment can begin. If approved, the Minister then directs the Commission to undertake an integrated assessment of the proposal.

The Australian Government Minister for the Department of the Environment may determine that, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the project also requires approval under that Act. There is an agreement between the Australian and Tasmanian governments to conduct an assessment which will result in only one decision being made, covering off the requirements for both governments.

The Commission prepares guidelines for the assessment and the process for preparing the draft Integrated Impact Statement. It may invite public comment on draft guidelines before they are finalised.

The developer then prepares a draft Integrated Impact Statement responding to the guidelines. This describes the proposal and addresses the project’s potential environmental, social, community and economic impacts, both when it is being built and when it is in operation.

The draft Integrated Impact Statement is submitted to the Commission for assessment, and is made publicly available. Comments are invited and a hearing may be held.

The Commission then prepares a Draft Integrated Assessment Report. This is also publicly available, and comments are invited. The Commission considers the comments received before deciding whether to hold a further hearing.

The final report is then presented to the relevant Tasmanian Minister. If the Commission recommends that the project proceeds, the report sets out recommended licence and permit conditions and the agency responsible for enforcing those conditions.

While the Commission assesses the project and makes recommendations to the Minister, it is the government that finally decides whether the project goes ahead, and on what terms and conditions.

How can I comment?

Anyone may make comments in writing when any of the following are advertised for comment:

  • draft guidelines for the Integrated Impact Statement
  • Integrated Impact Statement,
  • draft Integrated Assessment Report

There is also an opportunity to be heard if the Commission holds a hearing.

See the following flowchart for further information on the assessment process for projects of state significance (pdf, 100.1 KB).

Projects of regional significance

Projects of regional significance

Major development proposals that have effects that extend beyond a single council area but are confined to a regional level can be assessed as 'Projects of Regional Significance' under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993.

The Minister for Planning can declare a project of regional significance if it fits into certain categories under the Act. The Commission is then directed to assess the project. The Commission must appoint a Development Assessment Panel. The panel is made up of:

  • a Commissioner, or nominee, as the chairperson
  • a person with appropriate qualifications and experience nominated by relevant councils, and
  • a person the Commission considers has qualifications or experience relevant to the project.

The panel, with guidance from the Environment Protection Authority, prepares assessment guidelines and provides them to the project proponent. The proponent is then given a set time to provide a project impact statement to the panel.

The panel then publicly displays the project impact statement and invites comments. Hearings are held and the panel decides whether to grant a special permit. If applicable, this may be subject to the Environment Protection Authority’s advice. If a special permit is granted, relevant parties, including councils, the proponent and the Environment Protection Authority can object to any conditions or restrictions in the special permit.

The panel determines whether to grant a special permit, as well as any conditions or restrictions on that permit.

How can I comment?

There is an opportunity to make comments in writing to the project impact statement when it is advertised for comment and later to appear at a Commission hearing.

See the following flowchart for further information on the assessment process for projects of regional significance (pdf, 101.1 KB).

Other assessments

Other assessments

Draft State Policies and amendments to State Policies are prepared by government agencies and are then assessed by the Commission under the State Policies and Projects Act 1993.

If the Minister (currently the Premier) directs the Commission to assess and report on a Draft State Policy or a proposed amendment, it will be publicly exhibited and anyone may make comments. The Commission may decide to hold a hearing to assist it in its assessment. If there is a hearing, the Commission appoints a panel to assess the draft State policy.

After any hearing and consideration of comments, the Commission may modify the draft State Policy in its report to the Minister.

On receiving  the Commission's report, the Minister may recommend the Governor makes the State Policy.

The State Policy or amendment must be approved by both Houses of Parliament before it comes into operation.

How can I comment?

Anyone may make comments during the advertised period when the Draft State Policy or amendment is on public display. If you have made any comments, you will be advised of any hearing to be held by the Commission.

See the following flowchart for further information on the assessment process for draft state policies (pdf, 94.4 KB).

Reviews

Reviews

For all reviews of draft management plans, go to www.iplan.tas.gov.au.

Management plans are developed for reserves (by the Director of National Parks and Wildlife under the National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002), for water management (by the Secretary of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment under the Water Management Act 1999 and for Wellington Park (by the Wellington Park Management Trust under the Wellington Park Act 1993).

The Commission's role is to review the Director's, Secretary's or Trust's reports on comments received about a draft management plan.

The Commission's review functions are narrow in scope, and are limited to consideration of the report of the Director, Secretary or the Trust, with regard to the comments received. This is a review of the comments received and how the Director, Secretary or Trust has responded to the issues raised. The Commission cannot approve, amend or refuse a draft management plan.

The Commission may hold a hearing to assist in its review. However, this is not a review of the draft management plan itself. If a hearing is held, the Commission appoints a panel to assess the report of the Director, Secretary or Trust. For reserve and water draft management plans, the Commission provides a report to the relevant Minister, and then publishes notification of that report in the Gazette. In the case of a draft Wellington Park management plan, the Commission reports directly to the Trust.

After the Commission submits its report on a draft management plan, the Minister or the Trust considers the Commission's comments, and submits the draft plan or an altered draft plan to the Governor for approval.

In some cases, the draft plan must also be approved by both Houses of Parliament before certain conditions can become effective.

How can I make comments?

Opportunities for comment are through presentations at a Commission hearing, if one is held.

Inquiries

Inquiries

Inquiries into the future use of public land are conducted under the Public Land (Administration and Forests) Act 1991. The Minister responsible for Planning and Local Government directs the Commission to undertake an inquiry under this Act.

The Minister begins the process with a detailed request to the Commission to investigate and make recommendations for the use of any public land.

The Commission makes the request publicly available and seeks comments on that request. The Commission appoints a panel to assess the inquiry.

As part of each inquiry, the Commission may form an expert panel, and then prepares a background report, which describes all the known environmental, social, economic, industrial and recreational resources of the public land being investigated. The Commission then invites comments on the background report and prepares a draft recommendations report. This contains any extra information brought up during the public consultation process, the Commission's response to the issues raised and the Commission's draft recommendations. If necessary, the Commission may also produce an interim report.

The Commission may hold hearings as part of the process.

The final recommendations report is presented to the Minister, who tables it in both Houses of Parliament and makes copies publicly available.

Any recommendations for the formal reservation of public land are undertaken later as separate processes in the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.

How can I comment?

Comments in writing may be made in response to the terms of reference; background report and draft recommendations report.

There is also an opportunity to make a presentation at a Commission hearing if one is held.

Non-statutory review processes

Sometimes the Government asks the Commission to carry out a non-statutory review or assessment.

These reviews may take a variety of forms but in the past, reviews have followed a similar process to other processes conducted by the Commission.