Media Release: Hazzard talks planning reforms at LGA Conference

29 October 2012

The Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, the Hon. Brad Hazzard MP, has opened the second day of the Local Government Association of NSW’s annual conference by assuring delegates that councils will determine their own regions when developing Regional Plans, in conjunction with other councils.

President of the Local Government Association of NSW (LGA), Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM, said conference attendees welcomed Minister Hazzard’s commitment to a fresh planning system that promotes a ‘partnership’ approach and encourages councils to work together.

“Under the proposed planning reforms, councils will no longer have to get rezoning plans approved by the State Government. This will help cut red tape and redundant bureaucratic processes. However, the LGA does object to the NSW Government’s intention to allow proponents to appeal zoning decisions and we have made this clear in our submission to the planning Green Paper.”

“In fielding questions from delegates about the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act Amendment Bill’s proposal to change Development Control Plans (DCP) to guidelines, Minister Hazzard said the NSW Government was simply returning them to their original status, although councillors did query why the status of DCP’s was being dealt with separately from the planning Green Paper,” said Cr Rhoades.

“When questioned about Infrastructure NSW’s recommendation for the West Connex to be built, Minister Hazzard said he would advocate for all councils and communities impacted by its development, from Botany to Strathfield, to be thoroughly consulted on the project.”

“Councillors were also pleased to hear that there will be tougher regulations and penalties for private certifiers who don’t ensure developments comply with their consent conditions.

Cr Rhoades said checks and balances within the planning system are necessary to ensure transparency and public confidence in the reforms.

“Whilst the LGA welcomes the overhaul of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 - a clunky, cumbersome document that has had more than 150 amendments made to it since it was legislated – we have concerns about the Green Paper’s recommendation for new ‘enterprise zones’.

“The proposed new ‘enterprise zones’ have little, if any, development controls and contradict the promise of certainty for all players in the planning system,” said Cr Rhoades.

“Furthermore, introducing strategic compliance certificates, as suggested in the Green Paper, could allow developments to proceed before strategic plans are finalised and proper environmental assessments have been carried out, further undermining planning certainty and public confidence in the system.”

“As this the biggest shake-up of the NSW Planning system in our state’s history, we call on the O’Farrell Government and Minister Hazzzard to allow for a comprehensive consultation when releasing the White Paper.

Councils, communities and developers need adequate time to review and analyse this extremely important piece of legislation that will shape the future development of NSW.”

For full details of the LGSA submission on the Planning Green Paper, visit: http://www.lgsa.org.au/key-initiatives/nsw-planning-system-review

Media Enquiries
Cr Keith Rhoades, AFSM                 President, Local Government Association: 0408 256 405
Alexandra Power                               LGSA Senior Media Officer: 0408 603 093