Land Use Strategies reform begins

The government is continuing its clean out of planning laws, with the next cab off the rank a review of regional planning and structure plans.

It’s released a discussion paper about the regional planning framework as well as draft structure plan guidelines and is asking for comments before 28 February 2023.

Planning laws are baffling to most of us, but they’re also an avenue for substantive changes in cycling infrastructure.

To date, planning laws have prioritised private motor vehicle movements over other modes of transport like cycling and walking.

But globally there’s a recognition that if our cities and towns are designed to make cycling and walking easier, then more people will choose those options and we’ll all benefit from healthier populations and environments.

Discussion Paper

The regional planning framework is the laws, regulations and other legal instruments that support the state’s three Regional Land Use Strategies: these too are due to be reviewed, once the Tasmanian Planning Policies are made.

Regional Land Use Strategies plan how housing, industry, agriculture, transport, recreation, conservation and service areas fit together.

This first stage of reform will determine how the reviews of the land use strategies will happen.

So, while most of us are probably more interested in what’s in the land use strategies, this step is important in determining what is and isn’t in scope for the review.

The discussion paper poses broad questions to help you comment, such as whether:

  • the land use strategies should be approved by the Tasmanian Planning Commission with public hearings
  • the public should get a chance to comment
  • the Land Use and Planning Act should specify the content and purpose of a land use strategy
  • the three strategies should have the same structure
  • the process for amending the strategies should change

Structure Plan Guidelines

Structure plans flesh out the detail of the broader land use strategies, so while you may have a north-western land use strategy, the local council may produce a structure plan for a town or region.

The structure plan lays out aspirations for active transport networks, street plantings, public open space, services such as schools and aged care and building types, among other considerations. It generally shows this through maps with clear zoning and illustrations/images of how the streetscape could look.

The guidelines are to help local government planning offices to prepare structure plans for their area to cover new developments or existing areas being redeveloped.

Structure plans work hand in glove with Regional Land Use Strategies so this process will help sort out what should go in the strategy, which is legislated, and what should go into the structure plans, which are advisory.

You are being asked whether the guidelines cover everything needed, whether anything is missing, or anything needs to be changed.

Please provide feedback your feedback on the Regional Planning Framework Discussion Paper or the draft SPGs to