Great news – NSW Planning Bill delayed!


The news this morning that the O’Farrell Government’s Planning Bill will not be introduced into Parliament this week is very good news and a credit to the strength of the community campaign.

The letter from Local Government NSW quoted in today’s SMH follows a campaign by the Community Councillors Network  across NSW urging Councils to write to Barry O’Farrell and LGNSW demanding the Bill be withdrawn.

Both the community based Better Planning Network and the NSW Nature Conservation Council each wrote to NSW MP’s this week also seeking the Bill be withdrawn.

The best result to come out of this would be for the Planning Minister to genuinely sit down with stakeholders and re-write the legislation.

James Ryan

0414 922 591

Threats of DA go-slow over planning laws

September 11, 2013
Leesha McKenny

Urban Affairs Reporter

BARRY O'FARRELL.Urged to delay: Premier Barry O’Farrell. Photo: Supplied

The state government risks drawing Sydney’s Liberal-led councils into a statewide revolt against its planning changes, which could include delaying development applications.

Local Government NSW, the peak body for the state’s councils, has written to Premier Barry O’Farrell to urge him to delay the passage of the planning legislation until after its ‘‘grave concerns’’ about eight aspects of the laws are addressed.

The letter, which calls for a response in 14 days, warns failure to do so could result in action against the changes at next month’s annual meeting of 152 councils.

Brad Hazzard.Planning Minister Brad Hazzard. Photo: AFR

‘‘Given the mood of member councils, it is likely that some form of direct action campaign against the legislation with significant community support will be proposed unless the government is prepared to make the changes sought,’’ the letter read.

The association’s joint president, Keith Rhoades, said this could include ‘‘some sort of industrial action’’.

‘‘Councils do process DAs, what if they all of a sudden decided they’re not going to, or they’re going to slow the process up. That’s something that has been mentioned,’’ he said.

Cr Rhoades said councils – ‘‘and I can tell you that a lot of those are Liberal-dominated councils’’ –  were in chorus with industry organisations expressing concern about the laws.

‘‘We’re all singing from the one song sheet,’’ he said.

‘‘Local government, local councils, we represent our communities. And our communities are telling us that it’s not right in its current form.’’

Matters raised in the letter include the need to retain the community’s say in high impact development and rebalancing the ‘‘triple bottom line’’ of economic, social and environmental factors in planning principles.

‘‘We believe that the proposed changes are more than reasonable, allowing the core improvements to the planning system to proceed while addressing the imbalance inherent in the current proposals,’’ the letter said.

The draft legislation had been expected to be introduced into parliament as soon as this week.

Planning Minister Brad Hazzard said this was now unlikely ‘‘because we need to consider this and other submissions that have come in this week’’.

‘‘But considering and consulting doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily going to agree with everyone, because – quite apart from everything else – a lot of the groups don’t agree with each other.’’

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