Northern Midlands
Our Environment

Our Environment

The Northern Midlands is one of the largest and most diverse municipal areas in Tasmania. It covers an area of 5,130 sq kms, extending from Liffey Bluff in the west to Mt St John in the east, and from Relbia in the north to Tooms Lake in the south. It ranges from mountainous country on its eastern and western boundaries, to extensive grazing lands renowned for fine wool production and the rich agricultural river flats of the Esk, Lake and Macquarie Rivers.

The Northern Midlands experiences a relatively temperate climate. However being inland, the municipality experiences wider temperature variations than coastal locations, including cold overnight temperatures and frosts during winter. The Northern Midlands receives some of the lowest average annual rainfalls in the state.


The planning process focuses particularly on the impact of a proposal on the site and neighbouring land, including but not limited to the following types of issues:
  • Does it comply with Planning Scheme requirements?
  • Is it located an appropriate distance from boundaries?
  • Is the scale and size appropriate for the area?
  • Are there adequate vehicle-maneuvering & parking areas?
  • Does it create any access or traffic safety issues?
  • Are the hours of operation appropriate for the area?
  • Are there any environmental constraints?

Land Use - Planning & Approvals Process

There are a number of key State legislations which make up Tasmania’s Resource Management and Planning System.  As a result all activities are defined as either a ‘use’ or ‘development’. 

It is a requirement under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) that Northern Midlands Council prepare a planning scheme for its municipal district to regulate all uses and developments.  The planning scheme prepared by the Council and any subsequent amendments are subject to a statutory process and also subject to the approval of the Tasmanian Planning Commission (Commission).  Once approved, the planning scheme is a legal document to which Council and the community are bound to follow.

Interim Planning Scheme

As part of the State Government’s planning reform package, a Statewide Template was issued.  This template provided the format, including zones and definitions that were required to be adhered to by all future planning schemes in the State.

The Northern Midlands Council Interim Planning Scheme has been declared for the municipal area and became effective from Saturday 1 June 2013.

Planning Permits

All uses and developments are controlled by the Council’s planning scheme under Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 the Council is given responsibility as the ‘Planning Authority’ to consider planning permits.  As the Planning Authority, the Council is required to determine planning applications in accordance with the planning scheme and any other relevant legislation.

If an applicant or representative disagrees with a planning decision made by Northern Midlands Council they may appeal the decision to the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal (Tribunal).  The Tribunal are the final arbitrators and their decision is binding on all parties (except on points of law which may be taken to the Supreme Court).  The Tribunal have the authority to make any decision they consider appropriate and to award costs (although the awarding of costs is extremely rare).

The Local Government Association of Tasmania’s Councillor Resource Kit provides more information on Tasmania’s Planning System which applies to Local Government in Tasmania. 

What is Natural Resource Management?

The term ‘natural resources’ refers to environmental assets including air, water, land, plants, animals and micro-organisms. Individual assets are not isolated; however, they are linked together to form natural systems of varying scale such as rivers, lakes and wetlands, estuaries and coasts, forests, fields, geological systems and resources, and mountains.

Natural resource management reflects these linkages within and between natural systems. It integrates the management of social, economic and environmental values by involving the community and industry in planning and decision making.

Natural resource management is fundamentally about people. The success of natural resource management is ultimately determined by the level of community involvement and the adoption of ecologically sustainable practices across the community.

Natural Resource Management in Australia

Natural Resource Management has been fostered and developed in Australia over the past two decades by a number of Government programs, both Commonwealth and State, and through regional and local initiatives.

Funding assistance and support has been directed to hundreds of natural resource management projects and has encouraged broad community involvement: marshalling the commitment of community groups, land holders and land managers, all three tiers of government, as well as bodies dedicated to NRM program delivery.

Natural Resource Management (NRM) describes the sustainable management of our natural resources (our land, water, marine and biological systems). The sustainable management of natural resources is vital if we are to ensure our ongoing social, economic and environmental wellbeing.

Natural Resource Management (NRM) services are provided by Northern Midlands Council through a partnership with NRM North, the Regional NRM Organisation for Northern Tasmania.

This partnership has provided a Natural Resource Management Facilitator that is based in Longford to assist the Community.

These services take the form of:
  • Support for community groups who undertake environmental activities e.g. Tasmanian Landcare Association;
  • Property management planning (delivered via NRM North);
  • Support for landholders who wish to undertake natural resource management activities such as fencing of creeks and remnant bush, re-vegetation and weed control;
  • Advice to new landholders who wish to find out more about the environmental aspects of their land;
  • Environmental monitoring; and
  • Community Education.
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