Controversial Huntingfield rezone passes Parliament

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 The Huntingfield development moved to the next stage of progress when it passed through the Upper House on Tuesday, September 17 after over seven hours of debate among Legislative Council members.
Minister for Housing Roger Jaensch said, “The Huntingfield site rezoning process has passed Parliament and will now proceed to the detailed master planning stage and assessment through the normal Council process.”
A motion by Independent Member for Nelson, the Hon. Meg Webb MLC to disallow the rezone and progress the development through the normal planning processes, was unsuccessful with only five votes for and nine against.
Ms Webb, who is in support of the development at Huntingfield, remarked that her objections lay squarely within the processes being used to accomplish it and was concerned that this may have jeopardised the chance for community support.
“I am a passionate advocate for more public, social and affordable housing in Tasmania,” said Ms Webb.
“I want to see a fantastic housing development in Huntingfield that has a good mix of different housing types and I want us to achieve that with accountable, appropriate planning processes.
“I moved a disallowance motion on the Huntingfield Land Supply Order because I believe it was inappropriate to use a fast-track rezoning process for a land parcel of such size and complexity.”
Huntingfield resident Matthew Jones said many residents felt politics had taken precedence over the community.
“Labor initially stood right beside the community, with face to face meetings and through the media but once the amended Housing Land Supply Order passed the Lower House and entered the Upper House, the Labor Party support for the local community began to cease.
“The Labor Party could have stood up as the Opposition Party in Tasmania and stopped the Supply Order going through the Parliament.
“Instead their four Upper House votes stood with the Liberal Government.
“They chose politics over the community.
“The implications for not getting this right are going to affect not only Huntingfield but the Channel, Kingborough and Huon regions.
“Robert Armstrong MLC, our local member, also voted disappointingly to support the Housing Land Supply Order rather than listening to what the community were wanting,” said Mr Jones
The Planning Matters Alliances Tasmania was highly disappointed with the outcome of Tuesday’s debate and concerned for the precedent that this sets for Tasmania.
“This is unfortunately, a sad day for robust and transparent decision making, community consultation and strategic planning in Tasmania,” said spokesperson for the PMAT Sophie Underwood.
“It shouldn’t have to be compromise between social and affordable housing and good planning.”
Mr Jones has also expressed his disappointment in the result.
“Social and affordable housing could have been delivered on the Huntingfield site without sidelining the community, the Kingborough Council and the Tasmanian Planning Commission and without inappropriate levels of housing density.
“The community has always understood that the Huntingfield site would have around 230 dwellings but the State Government’s fast-track land rezone ‘process’ will allow for over 450 dwellings with some calculations suggesting that it could be over 600 dwellings.
“Very few people in the community want this level of density.
“The local community and schools do not want it.
“The Kingborough Council does not want it,” said Mr Jones who supports development at the site but not in the proposed density.
Minister Jaensch has emphasised that the State Government is committed to ensuring the local community is consulted on this important housing project as the master plan goes ahead.
“I believe the Government has addressed the key concerns raised by the Kingborough Council regarding rezoning and I look forward to working constructively with them to see the vision for this site realised for the benefit of the local community and Tasmanians waiting for a home.”
Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter expressed that despite some minor concessions made in the redraft of the proposal and despite invitations to the Minister, there was still no attempt to engage with the community or solid information about infrastructure plans.
“I could not be more disappointed with the approach from the State Government to Huntingfield,” said Mayor Winter.
A statement released by the PMAT addresses some areas where they have seen inconsistencies between information supplied by the State Government and the development plans such as the proposed density and unguaranteed allocations for social and affordable housing.
The PMAT alleges that when asked by the Legislative Council, the State Government representative was unable to confirm any guarantee of affordable housing and that this decision would not be made until after the order has passed, despite earlier statements by the State Government claiming that 15 per cent of the housing would be set aside for affordable and social housing.
Ms Webb stated, “The lengthy and considered Legislative Council debate on the disallowance motion was an opportunity for the concerns of people in the Kingborough community who had been excluded from the fast-tracked process to be heard.
“I look forward to seeing an exciting master plan for the Huntingfield development, with plenty of opportunity for the local community and local council to contribute.”
The PMAT believe that key issues raised by the community such as essential infrastructure, access points and density will become critical, unresolved issues as the development progresses and have thanked the community for their efforts.
“Thanks to all involved who tried to achieve a better outcome for Huntingfield, the Kingborough locals and for strategic planning in Tasmania,” said Ms Underwood.
Huntingfield residents will continue to await the release of more detailed plans and hope that these will provide clarity on the development and ease concerns on key issues across the community.
“The Government makes no apologies for getting on with the job of rezoning surplus government land to boost the supply of affordable housing in Tasmania, a commitment we gave at the Housing Summit last year and what Tasmanians expect us to do,” concluded Minister Jaensch.


Pictured above: Maps showing the revised and original proposals for the