In December 2015, changes to the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) provided for the establishment of a single planning scheme for Tasmania, known as the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, which is currently being rolled out across the State.
Reserves managed by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) are subject to the provisions of LUPAA.
Changes to the Tasmanian Planning Scheme allowed the Director of National Parks and Wildlife (NPW) to authorise use and development (which is assessed through the RAA process) on reserves managed by PWS which could then be deemed a ‘permitted’ activity under LUPAA. The potential that some types of use and development, if authorised by the Director NPW, could be ‘permitted’ under the Tasmanian Planning Scheme has caused considerable community concern, as ‘permitted’ activities would not be subject to the same requirements for public advertising and submissions as ‘discretionary’ activities. In addition, the RAA process is a non-statutory assessment process which is not considered an adequate replacement for the LUPAA assessment process.
In response to these concerns, PWS conducted an administrative review of the RAA process and implemented improvements that increased transparency and consistency in the process (see Reserve-activity-assessment | Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania).
Further measures are now proposed to provide confidence that the assessment of proposals on reserve land are contemporary and meet community expectations.
This reform takes additional measures to implement improvements to the RAA process to improve certainty, timeliness, independent decision making, provide review opportunities and importantly, ease of access to information.
What the RAA reform will consider
The RAA process used by PWS is equivalent to an environmental impact assessment process. PWS has adopted the RAA process to clearly identify assessments for proposals on land and waters managed by PWS including reserves subject to the National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002 (NPRMA) or the Crown Lands Act 1976.
The Tasmanian Government announced in September 2021 that amendments to the NPRMA would be undertaken to mandate elements of the RAA process on reserved land to:
provide for a statutory environmental assessment process for eligible proposals in reserves
establish an independent assessment panel to assess and review those proposals
provide for administrative appeals of the assessment process and authority decisions
establish a process for developing statutory policies to inform decisions affecting reserves
provide for cost recovery through imposition of fees for assessments
support public access to copies of leases and licences issued over reserve land.
The objective is to create a statutory environmental impact assessment process for eligible proposals on reserve land.
A consultation paper on these important amendments is open for public comment.
Lease and Licence Portal
As part of the RAA Reform Process, the Tasmanian Government has also committed to the publication of all active leases and licenses over reserved land. PWS issues leases and licences to individuals, community organisations and businesses for a range of activities on PWS managed land and there are currently over 1400 active lease and licence agreements on reserved land.
The new Lease and Licence Portal has been launched which was developed and designed by NRE Tas, which will support the Tasmanian Government Transparency Agenda by streamlining the publication processes of active agreements that have been issued on reserve land.
The Lease and Licence Transparency Project will ensure greater transparency and continuous improvements to managing property interests on the state's reserved land.
See the Lease and Licence Portal.