The Liberal government has today indicated they intend to dissolve crucial independent offices including the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Office of Local Government, while simultaneously merging the Department of Planning & Environment and Department of Industry into the new Planning & Industry cluster. The loss of independence for critical heritage, local government and environmental agencies represents a real threat to the natural, cultural and built heritage of NSW.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said:

“The loss of independence will be deeply felt in both the heritage and local government spaces.

“Local government especially needs to have its own champion in State Government. It is not a subsidiary of industry and should not be treated as such.

“Placing planning within industry shows just where the Berejiklian government’s second term agenda lies.

“Planning must prioritise the needs of local communities. Instead, today the Berejiklian government has made it the servant of industry, once again putting profits before the planet or people.

“Local councils deserve the support of an independent Office. Dissolving the Office of Local Government is just another case of the Liberals attacking the independence and autonomy of local government.

“Dissolving the Office of Environment and Heritage and making it a small part of the new Department of Planning and Industry, clearly indicates how this government is placing our natural, cultural and built heritage at the mercy of developers and industry.

“In the age of the climate catastrophe, the dissolving of the Office of Environment is irresponsible. This is a government that’s never been serious about addressing climate change, and now they are building additional structural barriers to prevent state action,” Mr Shoebridge said.