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Department of Premier and Cabinet

State Policies

State Policies are made under the State Policies and Projects Act 1993 (the Act) to articulate the Tasmanian Government's strategic policy direction on matters of State significance related to sustainable development of natural and physical resources, land use planning, land management, environmental management and environment protection. 

State Policies do not override legislation. They are implemented through the State's planning, development and regulatory systems, including incorporation into planning schemes or special planning orders. Planning decisions made by Tasmanian Government regulators and councils must be consistent with the provisions of the State Policies. The provisions of State Policies are captured in the normal development application approval processes of councils, in their capacity as local government planning authorities, and relevant Tasmanian Government regulators.

 A State Policy:

  • must seek to further the objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System (RMPS)1 (which are set out in Schedule 1 of the Act);
  • may be made only where there is, in the opinion of the Minister, a matter of State significance to be dealt with in the State Policy;
  • must seek to ensure that a consistent and coordinated approach is maintained throughout the State with respect to the matters contained in the State Policy; and
  • must incorporate the minimum amount of regulation necessary to achieve its objectives.

The Premier is the Minister responsible for State Policies.

Further information on State Policies can be found on the Tasmanian Planning Commission's website.

Existing State Policies

There are currently three State Policies operational in Tasmania:

  1. State Policy on the Protection of Agricultural land 2009
  2. State Coastal Policy 1996
  3. State Policy on Water Quality Management 1997

Detail regarding each of the Policies is provided in the table below.

National Environment Protection Measures (NEPMs) – statutory instruments that specify national standards for a variety of environmental issues – are also taken to be State Policies in Tasmania. Further information regarding NEPMs can be found on the Environment Protection Authority Tasmania website.


What is the purpose of the Policy?

What developments are affected?

Where does the Policy apply?

State Policy on the Protection of Agricultural Land 2009 (PDF, 137KB)

To conserve and protect agricultural land so that it remains available for the sustainable use and development of agriculture, recognising the particular importance of prime agricultural land.

'Agricultural use' includes use of the land for propagating, cultivating or harvesting plants or for keeping and breeding of animals, excluding domestic animals and pets. It includes the handling, packing or storing of agricultural produce for dispatch to processors or markets and controlled environment agriculture and plantation forestry.

Proposed non-agricultural use and development that is 'discretionary 'or 'prohibited' on land zoned either Significant Agriculture or Rural Resources in planning schemes or land adjoining these zones but with a different zoning.

 All agricultural land in Tasmania zoned either Significant Agriculture or Rural Resources in planning schemes.

State Coastal Policy 1996 (PDF, 105KB)

 To protect the natural and cultural values of the coast, provide for sustainable use and development of the coast, and promote shared responsibility for its integrated management and protection. Proposed use and development in a coastal area that is 'discretionary 'or 'prohibited' under land use zones applying to coastal areas in planning schemes.

Tasmania's coastal area, including all islands except for Macquarie Island. The coastal zone includes State Waters (as defined in the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995) and all land to a distance of 1km from the high water mark.

State Policy on Water Quality Management 1997 (PDF, 222KB

To achieve the sustainable management of Tasmania's surface water and groundwater resources by protecting or enhancing their qualities while allowing for sustainable development in accordance with the objectives of the RMPS.

 Proposed use and development that may impact on surface or ground water quality in Tasmania.

All surface waters, including coastal waters, and groundwaters, other than:

  • privately owned waters that are not accessible to the public and are not connected to, or flow directly into, waters that are accessible to the public; or
  • waters in any tank, pipe or cistern.


 1 The RMPS is a suite of policy and legislation that regulates planning and development in Tasmania. It aims to achieve sustainable outcomes from the use and development of the State's natural and physical resources by providing an integrated approach to planning and environmental assessment of land and water based activities.