Monday, 2 December 2013


NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard announced on 28 November that he would withdraw the NSW Planning Bills until February 2014.  This followed the significant amendments to the Bills which were made in the Legislative Council (the Upper House of the NSW Parliament).  The amendments were made by Labor, the Greens and the Shooters and Fishers parties.

Minister Hazzard attacked in parliament what he called the "unholy alliance" of the parties who had supported the amendments to the Bills.  He claimed this alliance had "jeopardised the housing supply our community needs".  He also claimed that an "unprecedented coalition" of business groups had supported the Bills.  These supporters included  the Civil Contractors Federation, the NSW and Sydney Business Chambers, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, the NSW Minerals Council, the Property Council of Australia and the Tourism and Transport Forum. (See the  Sydney Morning Herald report of 28 November .)

It is no surprise that these organisations representing the development industry supported Hazzard's proposed planning system.  It gave them enormous advantages.   At the same time it disempowered local communities which is why there was such a determined grass roots campaign against these planning changes.

The Better Planning Network's Convener, Corinne Fisher, in a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald in response to the article about Hazzard, called on the Minister to take responsibility for the failure of his Bills rather than blaming everyone else.  She referred to the cost and the time spent on the comprehensive , independent review of the planning system (the Moore and Dyer report) and the fact that the Minister ignored its more than 374 recommendations.

She  pointed out:  "The Planning Bills utterly fail to effectively address the two key problems associated with our current planning system: complexity and community acceptance."

"The NSW Planning Bills are a missed opportunity for genuine reform and will not solve the problems that have plagued and continue to plague planning and development in NSW.  Let's go back to the Moore and Dyer report and do better," she concluded.   ( The Better Planning Network website.)

Obviously the Government and Minister Hazzard, as well as the development industry,  will be lobbying Legislative Councillors in the hope of changing their votes when the Bills next come before the Parliament. Also there is no doubt that those opposed to Hazzard's Bills will also be actively lobbying members in both houses over the next few months.