NSW Local Government Conference shapes as a Referendum on Planning

From the Community Councillors Network.

It’s going to be an interesting conference.

James Ryan

Media Release 23.9.13

NSW Local Government Conference shapes as a Referendum on Planning

Wangmann_sm

 

As Local Government NSW (LGNSW) meets for its annual conference on October 1st

2013 the election for President is shaping up as referendum NSW’s

proposed new planning laws.

Three of the Presidential candidates have taken positions on the proposed changes to planning, while mystery surrounds the ALP which has nominated two candidates.

The President of LGNSW is a powerful position. The position is elected by the delegates of the 152 NSW Councils and speaks on behalf of local government to the NSW and Federal Governments.  The President is paid an honorarium of $101,000 ( 2012 financial year) in addition to their Council fees. All travel and accommodation expenses  whilst representing the Association are paid for.
Presidential candidate  Monica Wangmann from the Community Councillors Network, an alliance of councillors championing local democracy and community participation, has led a successful campaign urging local Councils to pass resolutions calling on Barry O’Farrell to dump the proposed planning legislation.

‘We are very pleased that our campaign has contributed to the deferral of this legislation.’ said Clr Wangmann ‘However we are shocked that the Minister for Planning is now proposing amendments which would impose a dual system in NSW.’

‘The Minister is proposing residents in high growth areas will be subject to Code Assessable development, whilst existing low density communities will be exempt from Code Assessment.

‘Code Assessable development deprives residents of their rights to comment and have a say on local development.’ Clr Wangmann said.

‘It is precisely in those high growth areas where more residents are affected by development, that it is important to retain the right to participate in planning decisions.’

‘The legislation is fundamentally flawed and must be re-written.’ said Clr Wangmann.

The incumbent President, Keith Rhoades, in a media release on 18th September welcomed the Ministers proposed changes saying:

 

In all the changes that Minister Hazzard agreed to reconsider, the big win for Local Government is the removal of the use of code assessable developments in existing low density suburbs.

 

Liberal Party Presidential candidate Christine Forster (sister to the Prime Minister) also emailed NSW Councillors last week (20.9.13) saying she had:

 

been working with Liberal MPs and speaking directly with the NSW Planning Minister about the future of our planning system in this State.

Ms Forster’s email then goes on to say that after lobbying the Minister she is ‘delighted‘ that changes are now being made.  Ms Forster lists the changes including the application of Code Assessable development to high growth areas.

Meanwhile there are TWO NSW Labor Party candidates for the position of President of Local Government NSW , Clr Leo Kelly and Jodie Harrison, neither of who have released a statement on the proposed planning legislation.
Clr Wangmann said ‘There appears to be little choice between the Liberal candidate and the incumbent candidate on the proposed planning legislation.’

‘Clearly.’ said Clr Wangmann  ‘I am the only candidate advocating for our local communities and our environment to be at the heart of our planning system and who is not prepared to accept the Ministers amendments.

‘I urge the Labor Candidates to declare what position they are taking on this critical issue so that delegates can make an informed decision as to who to vote for.’

Monica Wangmann

Mob. 0418 992 766

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