Brad Hazzard tape in planning protest

The Herald is right to label these planning laws as a BACKWARD STEP, but it missed the point that your right to comment on 80% of development will be removed.

James Ryan, Greens, NSW Senate Candidate

Brad Hazzard tape in planning protest

By  DAMON CRONSHAW

Aug. 30, 2013, 10 p.m.

  • The protest outside Tim Owen's office on Friday The protest outside Tim Owen’s office on Friday
  • BACKWARD POLICY: Brad Hazzard tape.BACKWARD POLICY: Brad Hazzard tape

A SPECIALLY-made product dubbed ‘‘Brad Hazzard tape’’ was placed outside Newcastle MP Tim Owen’s office on Friday in a protest against the NSW government’s proposed planning laws.

The Herald is right to label these laws as a BACKWARD STEP, but is missed the point that your right to comment on 80% of development will be removed.

James Ryan, Greens, NSW Senate Candidate

Hunter community groups aimed the protest at Mr Hazzard, the NSW Planning Minister, who is expected to introduce new planning laws soon.

The overhaul, which some say will be the biggest in more than 30 years, aims to streamline the planning system to boost jobs and the housing sector.

Activist James Ryan said the proposed laws would be like the government’s controversial new mining policy but would ‘‘apply to the whole system’’.

‘‘The community fears they will take NSW back to the 1960s and 1970s when very few environmental protection laws existed and development went unchecked,’’ Mr Ryan, who is a Cessnock Greens councillor, said.

He said the changes would make economic growth the ‘‘primary goal of planning’’.

Clean air, wildlife and green spaces in cities were ‘‘at least as important as economic growth’’.

‘‘The proposed laws will take away the right of residents to comment on 80 per cent of development,’’ he said.

‘‘These laws will accelerate the destruction of our environment and create a wave of demolition across NSW.’’

He said they would restrict the community’s ability to challenge decisions in court.

Mr Owen’s spokeswoman said the MP was ‘‘happy to meet with a delegation’’ from the group.

Mr Hazzard was unavailable for comment, but said recently the government was considering community feedback and would amend a draft of the planning laws ‘‘if appropriate’’.

He said the government’s new planning system was ‘‘aiming for 80 per cent of applications to go through a faster assessment process within five years’’.

This had the ‘‘potential to save the community and business about $174 million a year through reduced delays’’.

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