Residents given cold-shoulder Huntlee – Minister should replace PAC chair

The Greens are calling for the Minister for Planning Brad Hazzard to replace the Chair of the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) hearing the Huntlee development, following a series of rulings that have given developers unfair access to the PAC while leaving local residents out in the cold.

The PAC will meet this Thursday evening at 5pm in Branxton at the RSL Hall to consider Huntlee.

Greens Councillor James Ryan said:

James Ryan and David Shoebridge

James and David in Huntlee in 2010.

“The process the Commission is using is grossly unfair.

“The Commission announced on Thursday they will only allow residents five minutes to speak at a public meeting, despite the developer being allowed several hours in which to promote the massive Huntlee development at Branxton.

“While the developer will be showing the Planning Assessment Commission over the site in private, the Commission has refused to allow myself and members of the Sweetwater Action Group to show them aspects of the site.

“Instead of being treated as second class citizens with token consultation, the Planning Assessment Commission should be willing to listen to local residents as much as they are willing to listen to the developer.

“This is where we live – this is our home, our environment and our community,” Clr Ryan said.

Greens NSW MP and Planning spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“This is an example of one standard for the developer and a completely different and lower standard for members of the community.

“This type of double standard where the developers get first-class access to decision-makers and residents get a pat on the head is what we would have expected from the former Labor Government.

“The Minister must act and replace the Chairperson of the Planning Assessment Commission with someone who will allow residents the same rights as are given to the developers,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Background: The Huntlee development proposes to bring 20,000 residents to Branxton in the Hunter Valley, in 7500 houses. 100′s of hectares of endangered bushland will be bulldozed and one of Australia’s rarest plants (persoonia pauciflora found only in the local area) will have 50% of its’ range destroyed.

The Huntlee proposal was placed into the Lower Hunter Regional Strategy without any public consultation in 2006 by the then ALP Cabinet.

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