The Liberal National government has pushed through major changes to our planning laws – without even one mention of climate change.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2017 passed NSW Parliament this week with the support of Labor and Fred Nile.

The bill did achieve some good things:  like requiring community participation plans, requiring reasons for decisions, requiring local strategic planning statements, limiting certain categories of complying development to council certifiers only and introducing  a compliance levy to support councils in their enforcement work.

Ultimately though the Greens could not support these laws which have given more powers and rights to developers, taken planning powers away from local councils and fail to consider (or even mention) climate change.

What you need to know: 

  • Developers and proponents have been given brand new review rights, but communities have been left out which will only increase the disparity of rights between residents and developers
  • The Secretary of the Department of Planning has been given sweeping new powers if local decision makers take too long to determine approvals
  • Councillors and mayors will be ineligible for membership on local planning panels, removing
  • The role of private certifiers has been expanded exacerbating an obvious conflict of interest and corruption risk
  • The Planning and Assessment Commission has been renamed the Independent Planning Commission but this is window dressing at best, it remains a rubber stamp for the Planning Department
  • There has been a move to standardise DCP’s, this is almost certainly to ease the way for inappropriate development not the protection of local amenity and environmental values

The Greens moved a number of amendments to make climate change a core consideration in our planning system, give more planning powers to councillors, extend community appeal rights and ensure that real weight is given to the public opinion when determining DA’s.

Unfortunately we had little support from Labor and none from the government and Fred Nile (who voted together all night) to get these through.

We’ll keep pushing for a fair and sustainable planning system that puts the environment and communities before property developers.