Rob Stokes

Rob Stokes will move from NSW environment minister to planning minister, following a cabinet reshuffle announced by premier Mike Baird today (Wednesday).

The former planning minister Pru Goward has been given prevention of domestic violence, while a new face, Cronulla MP Mark Speakman, will become minister for environment, heritage and assistant planning.

The Property Council of Australia welcomed Mr Stokes’ appointment, and said it looked forward to collaborating on planning reform.

“Mr Stokes showed a great appetite for reform in the environment portfolio and served as a shadow parliament secretary for planning,” Property Council NSW executive director Glenn Byres said.

“He has a great opportunity to fix the state’s broken planning system, which remains the biggest piece of unfinished business from the government’s first term.

“We see the results of a dysfunctional system through projections that show Sydney is facing a housing supply deficit of 190,000 homes within a decade.”

Mr Byrnes said the government needed to progress legislation that cut red tape, created clearer rules and reduced project time and cost.

“The other big imperative is to see the proposal for a Greater Sydney Commission converted into a meaningful agency that can cut through bureaucratic barriers and inertia,” he said.

“The new Commission needs to be truly independent and have the teeth needed to overcome impediments to the delivery of new jobs, housing and infrastructure.”

Mr Byres also welcomed other key portfolio ministers including Gladys Berejiklian (Treasury), Andrew Constance (Transport and Infrastructure) and Mr Speakman.

The Green Building Council of Australia called on the returned government to embrace sustainable development.

“We are particularly keen for Urban Growth NSW to embrace the use of Green Star – Communities for urban renewal and urban development projects,” GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew said.

“Taking this next step on a journey to sustainability can help the Baird Government meet economic, social and environmental priorities – saving money, future-proofing assets, improving the productivity, health and wellbeing of workers and building better communities.”

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