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News and events

Accommodation sharing – supporting Tasmania’s visitor economy

Visitor accommodation just got easier

The home sharing or accommodation sharing market is a key component of tourism in Australia.

That is why the Tasmanian Government is making it easier for Tasmanians to share their own homes—whether they’re taking off on a rare holiday and giving a visitor cheap rates in exchange for dogsitting or they’re regularly letting out spare rooms to folks coming down for festivals and events.

Visit Tasmanian Planning Reform for more information.

Tasmanian State Planning Provisions

State Planning Provisions of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme

The State Planning Provisions provide a consistent set of planning rules for all of Tasmania.

The rules include consistent and contemporary planning definitions, exemptions, use classes, and administrative provisions such as development application requirements.

The Provisions also include 23 generic zones - including residential, business, agriculture, utilities, environmental and recreational - which indicate appropriate land use and development.

In addition, there are a suite of 16 codes which provide clear pathways for dealing with land use issues which occur across Tasmania and may apply across a range of zones, covering matters such as natural hazards, local heritage values and electricity infrastructure.

Finally, the Planning Provisions include a template for each council’s Local Provisions Schedule. Councils choose provisions from the suite of planning rules to best express their community’s land use strategies and needs.

Read more on Tasmanian Planning Reform.

Changes to the Mental Health Act

Mental Health Act changes

A number of changes have been made to the Mental Health Act. These come into effect on 1 July 2017 and affect doctors, patients and others who deal with the Mental Health Tribunal.

This Act authorises people in Tasmania with a mental illness who lack decision-making capacity to receive the treatment they need for their health and safety, or for the health and safety of others.

Patients’ rights and protection have not been removed or reduced by these changes.

Some of the changes specific to patient care include:

  • Streamlining the processes for patient assessment, treatment and care.
  • Improving the way patients are provided with emergency ‘urgent circumstances’ treatments when needed; and streamlining the process for authorising these treatments.
  • Ensuring that eligible people (for example, victims of an offence or parents/ guardians of a child victim) are consulted about extending or varying the leave granted to certain patients.

Some of the changes specific to treatment orders include:

  • Extending the timeframes for the Tribunal’s review of treatment orders, from 30 to 60 days; and 90 to 180 days.
  • Allowing the Mental Health Tribunal to make treatment orders that span different settings; and in certain conditions, authorising patients to be re-admitted or detained in an approved hospital.

For more information

You can find further information about all the changes and how they may affect you at  the Mental Health Tribunal website.

Refer to the Mental Health Act in full at the Tasmanian Legislation website.

Director of Consumer Affairs warns consumers about Viagogo

Director of Consumer Affairs warns consumers about Viagogo

The Director of Consumer Affairs is warning consumers about buying event or concert tickets from ticket resale website Viagogo.

Viagogo, headquartered in Switzerland, promotes itself as a ticket reseller to major events, including concerts, sporting events and theatre.

The warning follows the announcement earlier today by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that it had commenced action in the Federal Court of Australia against Viagogo. The ACCC alleges that Viagogo has made false or misleading representations in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC’s court action is separate to the warning issued by the Director of Consumer Affairs under section 223 of the Australian Consumer Law (Tasmania) Act 2010.

A large number of consumers across Australia have reported that tickets purchased are provided with incorrect names, are fake, or are not provided at all. Claims of hidden fees and charges are common, and consumers also often report not being aware they were dealing with a secondary ticket seller.

To date, Viagogo has refused to engage with Australian Consumer Law Regulators, and has made no attempt to resolve complaints received from Australian consumers.

Consumers should use authorised ticket sellers for an event, rather than secondary sellers like Viagogo.

Until such time as Viagogo improves its business practices, consumers are advised to think twice before dealing with them.

While making individual decisions, Australian Consumer Law regulators have worked cooperatively in considering consumer issues arising in relation to ticket reselling.

Tasmanian consumers who have had a negative experience with Viagogo may make a complaint to Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS):

  • By phone: 1300 654 499
  • By email: cbosinfo@justice.tas.gov.au

Further information about consumer issues can be found on the Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading website.

Corporate Direction Statement

Corporate Direction Statement

The Department of Justice Corporate Direction 2018-19 Statement was developed by the Department’s Leadership Team. It contains seven key priorities - which include implementation of the Government’s First Year Agenda and 2018-19 Budget commitments, in addition to our critical day-to-day service delivery - and the actions required to progress these.

Download the Corporate Direction 2018-19 document (pdf, 88.7 KB)

PTSD Ministerial Review

PTSD Ministerial Review

Following amendments to the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, the WorkCover Tasmania Board coordinated review activities into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as it relates to entitlements. The report was tabled in both houses of Parliament on 25 September 2018.

Download a copy of the Ministerial review relating to entitlements under the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 for workers suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (pdf, 661.3 KB).

Northern prison key step

Key step towards construction of a Northern Prison

The Government is committed to building a new prison in northern Tasmania, at an estimated cost of $270 million to house approximately 270 prisoners.

Expressions of Interest have now opened for landowners in northern Tasmania interested in submitting their site for consideration as a location for a new prison.

The Government has today sent invitations for participation in the processes targeted to northern Tasmanian councils, utility companies, the property sector and economic development groups.

The Department of Justice will also continue canvassing potential Crown land options and work with relevant State and Federal Government agencies to identify any suitable sites that are surplus to core government requirements.

A multidisciplinary Siting Panel has been established to guide the identification of a suitable site for the new northern prison, and this Siting Panel will recommend a shortlist of sites for consideration in the months ahead.

The EOIs will remain open for nine weeks, closing on 22 November 2018, and interested parties can request more information or nominate a potentially suitable site via email: northern.prison@justice.tas.gov.au.

Download the Northern Prison EOI Siting Principles (pdf, 505.5 KB) and the Northern Prison EOI Application Form (pdf, 900.8 KB)

Expungement of Historical Offences

Expungement of Historical Offences

It is not so long ago that Tasmanians still faced the risk of prosecution relating to homosexuality and cross-dressing.

The commencement of the Expungement of Historical Offences Act 2017 is an important step forward in addressing the legacy of old laws that were unfair and unjust.

The scheme enabling people to expunge charges and convictions for historical homosexual and cross-dressing offences commenced on 9 April 2018.

If a charge is expunged then the person will be treated in law as if the offence had not been committed.

Consistent with other States, applications will be considered by the Secretary of the Department of Justice.

An application can be made by the person charged with a historical homosexual or cross-dressing offence. If the person is deceased or lacks the legal capacity to make an application, the person’s spouse, relative or appropriate representative can apply.

Visit the Expungement of Historical Offences website to learn more.

Disability Justice Plan

Improved justice outcomes for people with disability

Tasmanians with disabilities will have improved access to the state justice system through the implementation of the Disability Justice Plan for Tasmania.

People with disability often experience barriers to accessing justice services because they are not identified as requiring additional assistance or because the modifications or supports they require are not available.

The Disability Justice Plan for Tasmania identifies changes that will be implemented to ensure equality before the law for those who may otherwise be denied this fundamental right.

It aims to generate change in the way disability is identified and thought about in the justice system and to lead to more seamless service delivery arrangements and greater ease in dealing with the diversity of client and users’ needs.

The plan recognises the significantly higher rates of disability among those in contact with the justice system, both as victims and offenders, and will guide Government agencies towards goals including

  • Developing, promoting and implementing disability-responsive police and legal services.
  • Preventing and responding to violence, abuse and neglect.
  • Responding to the needs of people with disability who are at risk of experiencing family violence.
  • Safeguarding the rights of people with disability to make decisions that affect their lives.

The Disability Justice Plan for Tasmania was developed by a cross-agency steering committee, chaired by the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, in consultation with a community reference group.

It will be implemented in collaboration with service providers and its progress will be monitored by the Premier’s Disability Advisory Council.

Both the plan and action items can be downloaded from the links below.

WorkCover Board appointments

WorkCover Board appointments

Appointments to the restructured WorkCover Tasmania Board have been finalised, providing the Board with a skills-based structure following a public expression of interest process.

The Board was dissolved on 1 January in line with amendments to the Worker’s Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, with new board appointments formally approved in January 2018.

Dr Robert Walters will continue his position on the Board, having been its medical director since 1997. Dr Walters has extensive experience on boards, including with Primary Health Tasmania and the Cancer Council of Tasmania, of which he was chairman from 2001-2004.

New board appointees include:

  • Graham Wood, a partner in legal firm Wallace Wilkinson and Webster. Mr Wood has been the principal solicitor for the Police Association of Tasmania for more than 20 years, providing advice on workers compensation matters
  • Insurance industry professional Sofia Mavratzas. Ms Mavratzas has held leadership roles with insurers, the South Australian statutory regulator and the state’s largest private self-insured employer
  • Unions Tasmania secretary Jessica Munday. Ms Munday worked with the Community and Public Sector Union (Federal) for 12 years and is the Secretary and Treasurer of the Worker Assist Committee of Management
  • Wesfarmers Tasmanian worker’s compensation manager Julieann Buchanan. Ms Buchanan has 30 years of experience in workers compensation insurance, rehabilitation, and occupational health and safety at strategic and operational levels.

The Board works with employers, workers, doctors and others to reduce work-related injury and illness and aid the early return to work of injured workers.

It also manages Tasmania’s workers compensation scheme and makes recommendations to the Minister relating to workers compensation legislation.

The Board is chaired by the Acting Secretary of the Department of Justice, Kathrine Morgan-Wicks. Vicki Tabor is the Board secretary.

The new Board members have been appointed for three years.

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks, Chair

Review of Guardianship and Administration Act 1995

Review of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995

The Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI) is currently undertaking a review of Tasmania’s Guardianship and Administration Act 1995.

The review was initiated by then Attorney-General, The Hon. Vanessa Goodwin MLC, in December 2015 in response to developments in law and policy nationally and internationally that promote the human rights of people with disability, including the right to be treated equally before the law.

The purpose of the review is to ensure that guardianship and administration law in Tasmania is responsive to the needs of persons in the community with impaired decision making capacities and advances, promotes and protects the rights of people with impaired decision making capacity.

The Review examines the roles of administrators, guardians, persons responsible, the Guardianship and Administration Board and Public Guardian in making substitute decisions for people with disability who are deemed unable to make their own decisions.

The TLRI has recently released an Issues Paper calling for community feedback on how informal arrangements to support decision-making are working for Tasmanians with disability. The Paper also presents a range of options for reforming guardianship laws in Tasmania, including new ways to provide people with support to make their own decisions.

As part of the Review, the TLRI has produced a short video which provides an overview of the Review and an introduction to the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995. Follow this link to watch the video.

A copy of the Issues Paper and details on how to make a submission are available on the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute website (external link).

Please note that the review is being conducted by the TLRI independently of the Department of Justice and therefore the contents of the Issues Paper do not necessarily reflect the position or views of the Department or government.