Brad Hazzard at the media launch for the NSW planning reforms white paper

7 May 2013 — NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has released a “message from the minister” in an attempt to combat growing community unease around planning reforms.

The release says the government does not accept the line of “naysayers” who suggest community will not engage at the strategic planning stage.

“The Coalition Government has faith in the community’s desire and ability to collaborate with their councils upfront,” Mr Hazzard said.

Better Planning Network’s Corrine Fisher recently told The Fifth Estate that involving community at this stage sounded good in theory, though the reality was that people have busy lives and don’t tend to get involved until the issues are on the doorstop.

Responding to the idea that the reforms are a picnic for developers, Hazzard said, “If a picnic means that the industry has to operate within the rules and without unnecessary red tape, then that’s the sort of picnic everyone should welcome.

Suggestions that councils would be stripped of their planning powers were also dismissed. Hazzard stated councils would be required to undergo “cultural change” though it would result in them “being given more power”.

“Instead of acting predominantly in isolation, [councils] will need to work collaboratively with neighbouring councils,” he said. “Instead of being bogged down in assessing individual DAs they can better plan the strategic policies for their community.”

The reforms would see 80 per cent of development proposals fast-tracked and approved within 25 days. Councils that consistently fail to meet the new timeframes would be at risk of having to create a determinative independent hearing and assessment panel to replace councillors in development assessment decision making.

The White Paper is on public exhibition until June 28.

One reply on “NSW Planning Minister invites everyone to developer picnic”

  1. That is an interesting comment ‘Responding to the idea that the reforms are a picnic for developers, Hazzard said, “If a picnic means that the industry has to operate within the rules and without unnecessary red tape, then that’s the sort of picnic everyone should welcome.’ Which is all very well, but even councils choose to not operate under the rules and regulations, such as the Local Government Act, EP & A Act, DCPs and LEPs, or for that matter do not enforce these same rules and regulations, is it any wonder that people either give up being concerned, or if in the past when they have shown concern they have highlighted those transgressions, contraventions or non-compliance to those authorities responsible, the response being of no interest or concern or followup. What is missing in this equation? The accountability of Local councils to their ratepayers, to actually do their job. To put it bluntly, there is no real accountability. The myth of public consultation is just that, a myth. It is a token gesture, prescribed by the Acts and Regulations as previously mentioned, and this needs to change.

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