Tasmanian planning scheme hindered by lack of qualified planners

A nationwide shortage of qualified planners has been blamed for the difficulties Tasmanian councils are experiencing in implementing a new statewide planning scheme.

The state’s 29 councils are required to prepare Local Provision Schedules (LPSs) for the introduction of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme (TPS).

“There is a shortage of planning staff in Tasmania, in much the same way there is a shortage nationally,” according to Kingborough Council deputy manager Tony Ferrier.

“There is also a general shortage of experienced planning staff too.”

According to the Tasmanian Government, “The TPS will be one single planning scheme for Tasmania, replacing 30 planning schemes that currently exist. The LPSs will also contain the particular purpose zones, specific area plans, and site-specific qualifications for each local council area which have been approved for unique sites”.

Draft provisions need to be submitted to the Tasmanian Planning Commission and then publicly exhibited for 60 days. The commission will then provide final approval, allowing the statewide scheme to take effect.

No council had completed its LPSs in August, despite the TPS being scheduled to take effect on July 1.

In March, Planning Institute of Australia Chief Executive David Williams said planner shortages were having an impact “across the board’’, with Local Government struggling to fill vacancies.

PIA Tasmania representative Irene Duckett said the increased complexity of development applications, which now have to account for factors such as sea-level rise, was driving demand for planners.

“There’s just a growing demand within councils for work that needs to be done, but also a growing demand in private practice as well,” Ms Duckett said.

“There is a growing demand and growing need for more complicated applications to have supporting reports prepared by planning consultants.”

The Local Government Association of Tasmania’s most recent workforce report found Tasmanian councils would have turned over more than half of their 2013 planning staff by 2019.

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