Planning & Heritage


The planning and development of our communities affects us all, whether it is our natural environment, our history, or our cultural identity. The Greens have long been outspoken defenders of the right of citizens to have a strong voice in the planning of their communities. Greens campaigning led to the banning of political donations from property developers.

The Greens also led the campaign against Labor’s notorious Part 3A of the Environmental Protection and Assessment Act, which removed planning decision-making from local communities and pushed unwanted developments on neighbourhoods. This forced the O’Farrell government to repeal Part 3A and promise to reform the broken planning system.

The NSW Government has now released a planning White Paper – the outline of their plans for the NSW planning system. A key aspect of the Green Paper is that environmental sustainability as the guiding principle for planning and development in NSW has been thrown out. Instead, the Green Paper delivers exactly what developers want, including by removing the right of residents to object to developments in their area, and proposing the introduction of rules-free Enterprise Zones.

Without significant pressure from the community, these changes are likely to become law in late 2013.

The Greens will be at the forefront of opposition to Barry O’Farrell’s developer-driven planning system and continue to advocate for a planning system which is for the benefit of communities and the environment of NSW, not for the profit margins of developers.



Heritage is not just about old buildings. It is about our natural, cultural and built treasures that have made, and continue to make, a unique contribution to who we are and where we live. Our heritage has been bequeathed to us by previous generations, and it’s our responsibility to safeguard it for future generations.

Unfortunately, the heritage system in NSW is currently geared towards reported destruction rather than managed protection.

David has worked to expand the contribution of The Greens to progressive heritage policy in NSW, resulting in the release of a new Greens NSW Heritage Policy which will form the basis for action in this area in the community and NSW Parliament.

Particularly, Aboriginal heritage continues to be needlessly destroyed in NSW. Greens’ amendments to the Heritage Act in NSW Parliament will now see an expert in Aboriginal Heritage required by law to be on the Heritage Council NSW. We recognise that Aboriginal peoples should be the primary decision makers in relation to Aboriginal culture and heritage.

The Greens are putting significant pressure on the Government to protect historic trees from unnecessary removal, following the destruction of the iconic Laman Street figs in Newcastle. At present, trees are in danger of removal to suit developer interests. A Greens amendment would ensure that Section 88 of the Roads Act 1993 was changed so that the removal of trees for reasons other than being an immediate danger is subject to the environmental, planning and heritage controls that should otherwise apply to tree removals and prunings on public land.


2017 so far: gun money talks and local democracy walks

Dear friends, We’re a quarter of the way through 2017 and despite how busy things are it seems a good time to reflect a bit on what we’ve done so far. Building on our work on council amalgamations that has already saved a number of councils around the state, I introduced a bill into Parliament […]

Coalition’s planning reforms: another fail

The Coalition’s draft planning bill is out and our verdict? It’s a fail. The bill completely fails to mention climate change, climate preparedness or planning for a carbon constrained world, even though our planning system is the biggest contributor to carbon emissions in NSW. We think this omission is unacceptable. What else does the bill do? The good:  […]

Greater Sydney Commission: Draft district plans on exhibition

The Greater Sydney Commission’s draft district plans are on public exhibition until 31 March 2017. This district plans are of particular importance to your local area because when it is finalised every local council in the district will be required to amend their Local Environment Plan to be consistent with it. In other words whatever is in […]

Ray Williams must go

Premier Berejiklian must take a stand and immediately remove Ray Williams from her cabinet amid evidence of thousands of dollars in property developer donations being funnelled through the Hawkesbury Club for Liberal party campaigning. Leaked financial records from the NSW Liberal Party indicate that thousands of dollars of illegal donations from property developers were delivered […]

Greens bushwalking club: join now!

As part of our campaigning to protect wild places (and as a respite from campaigning!) we plan regular bushwalks around NSW with Greens members and supporters. Where possible we have local environmental or Aboriginal heritage experts with us, and we’ll often go on walks that include sites of important environmental or heritage significance. Are you […]

More bluster and bullying from Baird on the Newcastle rail rezoning

  The Newcastle community, and Newcastle Council, must not be bullied by the Baird Government to support UrbanGrowth’s rezoning plans for the Newcastle rail line. The veiled threat by Transport Minister Andrew Constance that Newcastle Council is “robbing the people of Newcastle of $100 million” can’t be allowed to push the council into supporting the […]

Select Committee on the CBD and South East Light Rail Project [Debate]

This speech was delivered on 22.09.2016 in the NSW Upper House. You can read the full debate online here. I strongly support the motion moved by my colleague Dr Mehreen Faruqi to establish a select committee to look into what has gone horribly wrong in the approval and construction process of the CBD and South East […]

Packer’s blight on Sydney Harbour one step closer to development

Sydney is one step closer to having an iconic part of its foreshore sacrificed to a gambling tycoon with the Planning Assessment Commission giving James Packer’s Crown Casino project at Barangaroo the tick of approval. Reports are suggesting that the NSW Coalition government has also signed off on PAC’s recommendations, meaning the project will proceed […]

Plans for the future of the Hunter: Just 2 days left for submissions

The Government is currently accepting submissions on Draft Hunter Regional Plan and Growing Hunter City Plan , plans that are intended to shape the future of the Hunter region for decades to come. Submissions close on Thursday 24 March and we would encourage you to make your voice heard. This is an important opportunity for you […]

Indigenous project funding hoovered up by mining companies

When mining companies in the Upper Hunter have enormous developments approved they are required to put money into a trust for local Aboriginal communities. Unfortunately it seems that the trust fund has been handing out money to mining industry bodies, rather than the local Aboriginal community. As reported by the ABC: A New South Wales […]