The state government’s overhaul of planning laws, tabled in NSW Parliament on October 22, has been finally supported by the state’s peak body representing 152 shire councils, Local Government NSW.
It’s the most significant planning overhaul in several decades, yet was continually criticised by environmental and civil liberties groups who claimed the draft legislation favoured fast-track developments and lacked community input.
And while Local Government NSW also shared many of those views, president Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM said in a statement his organisation ‘achieved significant amendments’ to the draft policy prior to it being introduced.
They include sustainable development, community inclusion, biodiversity conservation, natural resource management and retaining heritage protections.
‘[Planning] Minister Hazzard has listened to the concerns of councils and communities alike and included sustainable development in the upfront objectives of the Act and triple-bottom-line considerations in merit-assessable development applications, which will still be dealt with by councils.
‘What’s more, the Bill’s underpinning objectives now also recognise biodiversity conservation, natural resource management including agricultural land, and retain the same heritage protections as the current Act.’
Meanwhile Mr Hazzard told Parliament on October 23 that ‘The Greens should be on board with that concept. They cannot have it both ways: either we are backing the councils and the communities or we are not.’
The minister also had a swipe at media reporting, saying his new laws have been ‘misinterpreted by some members of the media.’
‘The bottom line is that code-assessable development will be available across the state, across all of Sydney. It will be up to the councils and the community to determine whether they want code-assessable development.’
For more visit www.planning.nsw.gov.au.