Late last year the NSW Government failed to have its controversial new planning system passed in the Upper House, the Legislative Council. The Government is now intending to by-pass the legislature in order to implement planning changes which favour developers and disempower the general community. The Better Planning Network , an affiliation of over 400 groups around the state, condemned this move in a media release published on 28th February.
“The O’Farrell Government has failed to convince either the Parliament or the community of the merit of its proposed planning laws and now they intend to introduce them by the back door without any public scrutiny,” said Better Planning Network’s Corinne Fisher.
This Government came to power on the back of its promise for a visionary planning system that would enable the State’s necessary growth, guard against corruption, provide greater certainty and transparency, return planning powers to local communities and ensure that community views are again heard and respected,” said Ms Fisher. “However, the Minister has failed to deliver on these promises.”
“This Minister initially emphasised his willingness to listen and to consult with the community so it is very disappointing to hear that he is going to press ahead using his Ministerial power to implement changes the public doesn’t want.”
Ms Fisher pointed out that the overwhelming majority of 5,000 submissions on the White Paper rejected the Minister’s proposed Code Assessment and fast tracking of development. “Under the weight of public opinion, the NSW Parliament (Upper House) rejected the proposed legislation,” she said.
“We urge the Minister not to crash through using his existing Ministerial powers. What is needed now is a return to the drawing board and a genuine attempt to accommodate the community as well as the developers.”
The Better Planning Network believes that a way forward in planning is desperately needed and will host a forum on different ways to achieve this in NSW. The forum will include presentations by respected professionals and academics.
“We extend an invitation to the Minister to attend and hope we can work together on a genuinely collaborative approach to planning which will provide a healthy community, economy and environment.”
The proposed new planning system was discussed in a number of CVCC posts in 2013 including NSW Planning Bill Amended in the Upper House (27 November).