Stripping local councils of their powers to make decisions about development applications will do nothing to restore integrity or accountability to the NSW planning system.

Under the Coalition’s proposed changes contentious planning decisions will be made by unelected “independent” planning panels rather than democratically elected councillors.

The Greens know that restoring trust in our local councils and to our planning system starts with banning property developers and real estate agents from standing for office in the first place.

Greens MP and Planning Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“Removing decision making powers from local councils and elevating “independent” planning panels is a real step backwards for the NSW planning system.

“This is yet another example of the Coalition government stripping democratically elected councils of their decision-making and authority.

“Councillors are elected by their local community to make the tough decisions about their local area in a way that is transparent and accountable. This is directly contrary to that.

“Under these change councillors would be allowed to handpick a group of people from the property industry to make decisions about development applications.

“To suggest that these proposed changes are probity and integrity measures is blatantly disingenuous spin from the Minister for Planning.

“If the Coalition was serious about restoring integrity to our planning system, they would start by banning property developers and real estate agents from sitting on council.

“This already happens at a state-level with the Planning and Assessment Commission that has a 97% approval rate for developments.

“Real reform starts with respecting local communities views on forced amalgamations, recognizing local government in the constitution and minimizing conflicts of interest at a structural level,.” Mr Shoebridge said.