The NSW Government has introduced bills to reform the NSW planning system to the Parliament. Despite the Planning Minister’s rhetoric and some minor changes in response to community anger at earlier drafts bills, these laws remain in breach of the Government’s promise to return planning powers to communities.

Listen to David on the John Laws Program speaking about these changes:

The bills are available on the NSW Parliament website here: Planning Bill and here: Planning Administration BillPlanning Bill 2013 Cover Page

As reported in the SMH online today here.

See also reporting in the Daily Telegraph here.

Greens MP and Planning Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“The O’Farrell Government’s developer friendly reforms have been slightly improved, but they still fall far short of the promise to return planning powers to communities.

“The final planning bill retains a fundamentally flawed model that has been rejected by hundreds of resident, environment and community groups across NSW.

“These bills continue to prioritise building and development and if they ever become law will cause real harm to communities and the environment.

“These laws repeat Labor’s past mistake of centralising power in the Planning Minister to determine and approve any development, regardless of its size or impact, as ‘state significant development’.

“The government continues to promote code assessable development that will see no right for the public to make submissions on very significant developments in their local area.

“Under code assessable development residents have no right to make a submission on proposals including building up to 20 townhouses on a local street or a residential flat building in their local shopping strip.

“The government intends to apply code assessable development in ill-defined “growth areas” that may include large parts of Sydney and coastal NSW.

“These laws will also allow local councils to impose code assessable development in their local areas.

“While NSW has some great local councils, there are also plenty of councils that would love to exclude residents from having a say in development matters, and the code assessable provisions in this bill would let them do just that.

“Around the state, property developers will be looking at their local councils and seeing if they can get a pro-development majority to implement code assessable development and exclude community consultation.

“Once that happens local residents are left out in the cold”, Mr Shoebridge said.