Home to pristine landscapes, diverse wildlife and outstanding produce, Tasmania’s population sits at just over 560,000 people, 2.1% of the country’s total population.
Despite its small size, Tasmania has experienced constant population growth over the last decade, becoming one of the fastest-growing states in the country, with population projections of an average of 2.2 per cent in 2019 compared to 0.4 per cent in 2014. The state is growing fast and doing so in a decentralised manner with much of the population scattered outside of Hobart.
Construction statistics also show favourable growth as, throughout the September quarter of 2022, dwelling approvals have increased by 75.7%, whereas the rest of the nation’s states and territories have all seen reductions (except for South Australia). While modest, the value of construction has also increased by 4.9%; a much greater rate than the rest of the country.
Residential property prices continue to rise and exceed the country’s average. The value of residential dwellings in Hobart rose by 6.5% exceeding the country’s average growth of 4.7% and only surpassed by Brisbane and Adelaide, with changes of 9.6% and 6.8% respectively.
The planning processes in Tasmania have many similarities to the Victorian Planning system with some of the challenges faced by the growing state serving as a reflection of the immense popularity of Tasmania as a place to live and work.
Relative to Victoria, there are some challenges in the planning process worthy of mention:
- Internal and external referrals can take longer than in Victoria due to limited resources and high volumes of applications.
- Applications are more likely to go to a Council meeting because the thresholds to trigger meetings are quite low, in some municipalities it takes only two objections for an application to go to a Council meeting.
- Sourcing expert advice and reports can be difficult because companies that provide these services are generally at capacity. It is not uncommon for interstate companies to provide professional services.
- There are very limited opportunities to amend proposals once a planning permit is issued or the advertising of the application completed.
- There is generally less planning advocacy at the appeals stage, most cases require legal representation assisted by town planning expert evidence.
The above points are indicative of a state with a modest population facing a shortage of skilled professionals and rapid population growth. However, the services of consultants with local experience are best placed to navigate this process.
Hobart and Launceston
City of Hobart is responsible for over 1,000 development applications a year. Noteworthy projects include the planning proposal for a cable car on Kunanyi/Mt Wellington, refused by the Tribunal in 2022; the ongoing relocation of the University of Tasmania (UTAS) into Hobart’s CBD, and commercial and residential proposals, including multiple dwellings, visitor accommodation and hotel developments.
Likewise, City of Launceston accepted approximately 878 development applications in 2022. Significant projects within Launceston also include the relocation of UTAS to the city centre, hotel developments like the 12-storey Fragrance Hotel, the Kanamaluka Cultural Centre currently under assessment, the St. Lukes Health headquarters in Cimetiere Street and a large number of commercial and residential proposals.
The planning team at Ratio is growing its project list across the state with planning approvals recently obtained in Clarence and Devonport and many more commercial and mixed-use developments. We have staff with extensive Tasmanian experience able to navigate the Tassie planning system.
As we continue to facilitate the arrival of multinational companies in Tasmania, we’re proud to offer our services to those looking to invest in property. Contact Ratio here.
 Centre for Population (2022), Population Statement, The Australian Government, Canberra.