top of page

Hot Topics


UTAS relocation to the CBD

I think that UTAS should stay in Sandy Bay on the beautiful, prime property they were gifted for the purposes of education. I find the decision for UTAS to move into the CBD illogical.

Some of my concerns relating to UTAS' move are that:

  • the land was gifted for the purpose of education. I believe throwing this away, especially without truly valid logic, is a betrayal and that property development is distracting UTAS from their core role

  • the Sandy Bay setting is one of UTAS’ strongest selling point for students and staff. I believe the location reflects our Tasmanian brand of close-knit communities and welcoming and inclusive environments

  • the HCC struggles to approve a dozen homes in Sandy Bay, yet UTAS propose 2700 new dwellings which will realistically bring around 4000 cars to the already congested roads in the area

  • the CBD should be retained as the central business district and that condensing higher education into small city blocks will further clog the city

  • UTAS is seeking ‘green space’ (and has already applied to take over public streets to facilitate this) but green space is exactly what they will be leaving behind in Sandy Bay

  • UTAS will steamroll the small guy. UTAS is powerful and well-resourced and, combined with the authority available to the Hobart City Council, small businesses, local residents and community members could very easily find themselves trampled. UTAS’ application to take over Melville Street has already demonstrated this

  • UTAS’ exemption from paying the bulk of local government rates (and land tax) means that more pressure is placed on other ratepayers

  • the UTAS-HCC relationship is unhealthy and puts the Council’s requirement to act in the best interests of the community in jeopardy. The HCC and UTAS appear deeply intertwined with UTAS calling the shots and the HCC committed to comply. 

Affordable Housing

Housing affordability is a key issue that first brought my attention to the decisions and priorities coming out of the Hobart City Council. It’s common knowledge that this is a complex issue with many factors coming into play, with levers at all levels of government.

Locally, given that all new homes and hotels are filtered through the Council’s planning rules and processes, the Council holds considerable power when it comes to housing supply. I am highly disturbed by the number of new homes which are voted against by some elected members, despite them being recommended for approval.

I believe that some people apply an inherent anti-development filter to the extreme. Why do we have certain councilors voting with such frequency against homes that are recommended for approval as they satisfy planning requirements? Do the Council’s own highly qualified planning officers have their recommendations wrong? Does the councilor have a gripe with the planning scheme, not the development itself? Or do they simply not 'like' the development, or any development?


I also believe that we need to embrace greater density in our city, not only from a housing affordability perspective but also from a traffic and transport viewpoint. Hobart is a city. Cities attract people and we need to house them. I found the Council's Affordable Housing and Homelessness Commitment document underwhelming. I provided feedback on the draft of this document and had to remind the Council that they hold a key lever to affordability through their planning votes - this core item was, perplexingly, missing. Why isn't the Council offering up their land for lease for modular homes and other temporary solutions to get through the peak pressure? Why are the councilors themselves voting FOR homes which are recommended for approval? 

At the state and federal level, taxation and financial incentives to first home buyers come into play, and a critical lack of public and social housing, which has led to rental accommodation for low-income households being essentially outsourced to the private sector. For decades, all governments dropped the ball on social and public housing. If this had not been allowed there would be significantly less demand on the private sector which would take much of the heat out of rents. Take a look at Tasmania's extreme land tax too - prices this out of whack have a dramatic impact on rents. 

Today’s economic environment, where debt is almost free, is also a major factor and I am concerned about the impact that interest rate rises will have on owners who are already outlaying their maximum on housing. Social changes have compounded to create today’s housing tornado, where we have an influx of cashed-up interstaters moving to regions with considerable buying power,

Short-Stay Accommodation

A large part of our economy centres around tourism. I believe that short-stay accommodation is a valuable way to spread the social, employment and economic benefits of tourism, in Hobart’s case, beyond the CBD and Salamanca.

Short-stay accommodation attracts a different customer than the typical hotels. Multi-generation and large families that spend weeks touring our state, checking out the smaller corners, are common. As a short-stay accommodation operator, I have first-hand knowledge of the benefits of this offering and the back end of how the platforms work.  Short-stay operators often employ people (including themselves), buy local goods and services, and guests visit local cafes and shops. 

I believe that short-stay accommodation’s contribution to housing affordability is minimal and that further regulation to restrict a property owner’s ability to apply for a short-stay permit is unnecessary. I do not believe restricting permits would have any notable tangible impact on housing affordability. I have major doubts about the accuracy of the information being used to promote anti-airbnb type messages as they are full of assumptions and unreliable data sources. For instance, all a listing on Airbnb needs to have in order to be classed as an entire listing, is its own entrance and self-contained (e.g. kitchenette and toilet). Many of the properties that meet this 'entire place' criteria would never be offered for long-term rent (as they're often attached to or part of people's homes). To assume that all 'entire place' listings are homes that would otherwise be long-term rentals is naive and flawed. 


As outlined above, there are many other factors that have a much higher impact on housing affordability, such as the exacerbated trend for interstate movement away from the big cities. A prominent and vocal anti-airbnb housing researcher is one of many examples of this trend. 

I am also concerned that restricting the issuing of short-stay permits will mean that the properties that have a permit will therefore be worth even more – the holder of a golden ticket type situation. This would then, in turn, drive sale prices even higher.

That said, I do believe there is an opportunity to restrict and deter conglomerates and international buyers from purchasing housing. In my role as President of the Tasmanian Residential Rental Property Owners Association, we successfully lobbied the State Government to introduce a 2 per cent surcharge on Land Tax to be paid by foreign owners. I would be very supportive of similar changes being applied to local government rates and fees for international buyers.


​William Crowther Statue

I believe that the $20,000 recently spent on temporary artworks relating to the William Crowther statue in Franklin Square is wasteful. I believe that, at a minimum, the Council could have commissioned a separate artwork that communicates from our First Nations peoples perspective with the two co-located.


I believe efficiently providing the city with high quality infrastructure is a fundamental role of local government. 

I would like to see:

  • funding for essential infrastructure, particularly related to stormwater, prioritised and new work and upgrades not being delayed or neglected for the sake of nice-to-haves

  • greater attention given to the fundamentals of local government, like roads, footpaths, waste management and cleaning 

  • our infrastructure able to meet the added demand that will be on it through population growth, greater density and climate events 

  • funding for upgrades and new work to be planned well in advance and saved for to avoid blowouts

  • high standards set in terms of what we view as acceptable for the state of our roads and footpaths

  • policy changes so that vegetation clearing occurs as needed, as well as a default regular cycleg

  • the usage of Council provided public wifi reviewed and, if underutilised, withdraw this service.

Parking, Traffic and Transport

I believe in being realistic about the community’s genuine need for their own personal transport. I am not convinced that stripping cars from the city is realistic, viable or would be without negative consequences, like business closures and excluding and hardship for groups of people.

We should not be making it impossible to drive and park in and around our city, especially while our public transport is inadequate. If our public transport is dramatically improved, we could reduce some parking and traffic in the city, but I believe that the need for personal transport will remain to some degree at least. 

Emissions from transport worry me, as does the viability of our local businesses and our community's ability to access the health, professional, retail and other core services they need. I would advocate passionately for realistic and practical solutions and for ensuring the city is accessible to all. I would like to see:

  • the first 90 minutes in council off street carparks restored to free

  • on-street parking in prime spots reduced to $4.00 per hour (from $5)

  • the Council absorb the 10% commission charged by the EasyPark App for parking so that the pricing for parking through the meters and app is the same

  • Argyle Street carpark open 24 hours and a fixed-price model is considered for overnight parking (such $5 when in after 6pm and out before 7am)

  • a fixed price all day parking rate on Sundays in off-street car parks, excluding over Christmas period

  • more 15 minute free on-street designated click and collect car parking spaces

  • off-peak rates for on-street parking implemented, excluding over Christmas period

  • the price of parking clearly displayed on meters which can be seen without first parking and exiting the car

  • park and ride type facilities and services with neighbouring councils in place with urgency

  • the Salamanca Market shuttle bus ceased and replaced with a more worthwhile route, such as CBD to North Hobart

  • Council-funded bus shelters at key locations across the city

  • separated roadways on key bicycle routes

  • significantly more free and secure parking spots for bikes and scooters.

Waste and Environment

I believe that there is considerable scope for local government to help minimise our impact on the environment, including through the avoiding, reusing, reducing and recycling waste. I have a particular interest and passion for recycling and addressing plastic pollution. I would like to see:

  • more water fountains and bottle fillers

  • Council prioritising investment in recycling technology

  • Recycling stations for items which can’t go in kerbside bins much more accessible, such as at drive up locations like service stations

  • expanding kerbside collection, such as collection of spot plastics

  • Free council run/provided community repair café

  • Fees waived for planning and building applications which relate solely to an environmental/sustainability activity, such as the installation of solar

  • rebates on home compost and worm farms systems and electric lawn mowers

  • wide community access to free electric vehicle charging

  • Free annual hard waste collection

  • Council-supported garage sale locater app/promotion

Community, Culture and Arts

I believe our Council needs to step back and ensure that it is carefully prioritising its resources and that scrutiny should be applied to all expenditure, including that relates to arts activities.

The Council cannot be all things to all people. I believe that the Council owes it to ratepayers to ensure that they are getting the best value from the money they spent. Activities should bring benefit to hundreds and thousands, not handfuls or dozens. A classic example – I do not believe that $5000 to teach a dozen people how to DJ is sound use of ratepayer money, in my opinion.

I would like to see:

  • Mawsons Place and/or other council owned facilities offered for community art exhibitions from April to September annually

  • a city murals program which includes artworks by and representing First Nations people

  • a permanent sculptural installation in Franklin Square recognising First Nations people and history and

  • more in-kind support for events and activities.

Sport and Recreation

I would like to see:

  • a new dog-friendly park in South Hobart

  • a new playground in Lenah Valley

  • a kid-friendly play space for young children in the central CBD, ideally located with a small café

  • increase funding for sport and recreation facilities, including new toilets and change rooms as needed at sporting grounds

  • options for additional sport and recreation facilities on Queens Domain explored

  • more shelters at Waterworks Reserve

  • exercise equipment at parks/reserves

  • reinvigorated playgrounds across the city to rival the brilliant new playgrounds in Clarence and Kingborough.

Planning and Building

I would like to see:

  • fees reduced on straightforward, low-cost applications like fences, driveways, sheds

  • greater transparency that provides the full picture on planning activity and decisions

  • all expenses payable by the community, such as the Tree Amenity Valuation Formula ($60,000), examined

  • new highly restrictive planning restrictions that limit future opportunities avoided.

Council Engagement and Transparency

I would like to see:

  • the community provided with the opportunity to specifically influence the services the Council provides, its priorities and how it spends ratepayer money

  • a welcome and information kit for new ratepayers introduced

  • more detail provided in regards to council budget and expenditure.


Thank you!

What do you think?

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page