Sweetwater argues case in fight against Huntlee

Sweetwater argues case in fight against Huntlee

BY DONNA SHARPE 23 Jun, 2011 04:00 AM Sweetwater Action Group members, fighting to overturn approval of the state’s biggest residential development, Huntlee, say their legal team has put forward a strong case during the first day of their Land and Environment Court hearing.

Cessnock Greens councillor and group member James Ryan said the first day “went well”.

Before the start of the three-day hearing, group representatives took part in a protest outside the court over the Liberal government’s planning laws. The NSW upper house passed a bill on Tuesday repealing the former Labor government’s “part 3A” development law, which empowered the planning minister to override environmental and council concerns about projects deemed “state significant”.

A series of proposals put forward by the state government repeals sections of the law but allows the minister to override environmental and council concerns over “state significant” developments. Cr Ryan said the amendments proposed by the O’Farrell government would allow NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard to do much the same as the former Labor planning minister.

“Residents are challenging NSW’s largest residential development which proposes the building of 7500 houses,” Cr Ryan said. “It’s poorly located and will have an incredibly damaging impact on the environment if it proceeds.

“If we are eventually successful in overturning this development, the new laws will allow the minister to again propose the same land is rezoned without the consent of the local council and assessment of the development proposals without having to fully comply with the Coastal Protection Act, Heritage Act, National Parks and Wildlife Act, Rural Fires Act, Water Management Act and the Native Vegetation Act.”

The Land and Environment court will hear the case until tomorrow.

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