A southern Tasmanian community has raised concerns about the State Government’s plans to rapidly rezone land for social and affordable housing.
The Tasmanian Parliament passed legislation last year to “fast track” the rezoning of land for new affordable housing.
A proposal for a 37-hectare site at Huntingfield, near Kingston, would see 450 dwellings, including a mix of social, affordable and private housing.
But local residents say they only had two weeks to respond during the community consultation process, and the State Government has not been transparent about the proposal’s details.
Huntingfield resident Matthew Jones said he received a letter in the mail from the State Government two weeks ago.
“Chatting around the street we quickly realised the houses that were receiving these letters were the ones that bordered the proposed land development, which wasn’t ideal because a lot of people weren’t receiving these letters,” he said.
“Between the two streets about 15 houses received it.”
He said two weeks to respond was not enough and there should have been a full community consultation.
“Everyone’s supportive of housing, there’s obviously a housing crisis, but there’s a proper process,” Mr Jones said.
“A lot of our concerns are the infrastructure and access to this development.
“The schools are at capacity, the medical services are at capacity and it’s quite a rushed process.”
Consultation process ‘fallen over’: Kingborough Mayor
Kingborough Mayor Dean Winter said while he was supportive of more housing in greater Hobart, the local community was concerned about the consultation process.
“This is actually putting the whole project in jeopardy, it’s lost the community support already before the consultation’s already finished because people don’t have the information they need to make their own assessment,” he said.
“They’re concerned about infrastructure, they’re concerned about overcrowding and environmental impact and until the government gives them the information they need … they are going to be concerned.”
Cr. Winter said the consultation process did not appear “genuine”.
“Locals have only been given 14 days to respond and very few of them were made aware directly by the Government,” he said.
“People haven’t had enough time, they haven’t got all the information they need and therefore the consultation process has really fallen over.”
TasCoss chief executive officer Kym Goodes said building new affordable and social housing is a high priority for Tasmania.
“What we’ve heard over many months now is the long delays that can happen when trying to get housing stock built,” he said.
“My understanding is there will be 15 per cent of it dedicated to social housing and the balance of the development will be more affordable housing.
“So we can address those 3,000 people on the waiting list looking for somewhere to call home.”
Labor MP David O’Byrne said getting affordable housing built was crucially important.
“But we’ve seen with the Huntingfield development that you can’t trust this Government with anything,” he said.
“They have driven the Tasmanian community into this crisis … and now they’ve failed to consult and work with the local community on what could be a really important development.”
In a statement, Housing Minister Roger Jaensch said the fast track rezoning legislation does not apply to the development application process, which will go through the normal council process.
“The accelerated rezoning process shaves an estimated six months off the typical rezoning process, without compromising planning and community considerations,” he said.
“The act requires that adjacent land owners are notified, which is consistent with the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993.