Unlawful Use or Development

Generally, an unlawful use or development involves:

  • activity or works being carried out for which prior Council approval should have been obtained. (Permitted or discretionary activity under the Planning Scheme)
  • activity or works being carried out for which approval cannot be given. (Prohibited activity under the Planning Scheme)
  • activity or works being carried out in a way that does not comply with a planning permit.

Council can take action in respect to unlawful use or development under Tasmania’s planning legislation.

Council’s action will be appropriate to the nature and legal status of the activity or works, viewed against the provisions of the Council’s planning scheme.

What can you do if you think a development or use is unlawful?

If you think there are reasonable grounds for questioning whether an activity or works being carried out may be an unlawful development or use you should contact us. Council's planning staff will take details of your enquiry and follow it up. Please be aware that due to difficulties in gaining evidence, formal enforcement action will not usually be taken if the complaint is anonymous.

Keeping a record of details of an activity or works, such as a general description, dates and times, duration etc., along with a description of any vehicles, (including company names, registration numbers) engaged in the activity or works, as appropriate, can help Council take enforcement action.

Is that all you can do?

If Council has confirmed that action can be commenced, you may be able to assist Council further in its investigations, and in some cases this may be essential if a Council action is to succeed in respect to an unlawful activity.

If Council decides not to take action, you can then choose to take your own enforcement action in respect to an unlawful activity or use.

Planning enforcement in Tasmania is administered through the Magistrates Court (external link). However, those accused of a contravention can appeal the issue of an enforcement notice to the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal (RMPAT) (external link). However RMPAT cannot consider the facts of the case.