NCC is enormously concerned about the NSW Government’s latest planning reforms which we believe will result in a further reduction in community participation and environmental protection. We are encouraging the public to provide submissions on this issue to the State Government.
email@example.com by 8 February
Our principle concerns relate to the removal and downgrading of environmental protection regulations and future meaningful community consultation. There are over 90 recommendations contained in the reform proposals.
NCC will be preparing a submission before the date that can be used as a guide to make submissions. Points to mention in your submission are found below.
There are many aspects to the reforms, some of which are covered here. The rezoning process will be simplified and rationalised, ‘slashing’ the time for their approval. The application of this will have major ramifications in the coastal zone and other greenfields sites.
Development will be based upon strategic and regional plans. We are concerned about their use of guidance/motherhood statements and their subjective application which can result in poor planning outcomes.
Local Councils will have their powers significantly reduced as exempt & complying developments are increased and mid to large size development will be controlled through the Planning Minister and through Ministerial appointed panels. The use of State Government appointed panels may enormously reduce the ability for community consultation and even the largest of developments will aim to be determined within 90 days. These panels may be used for development assessment at local, regional and state level. The make up and scope of these panels is presently unclear and is one of our major concerns.
The reforms will reduce environmental protection through:
- Streamlining the process by further removing the need to consider environmental regulations (concurrence) in addition to the planning laws. This has already been eroded under the Part 3A reforms of recent years.
- The use of broad guidance statements that can be subjectively addressed by proponents and can therefore ignore a strict application of the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
- Environmentally destructive development gaining approval by demonstrating offsets and benefits at an unrelated site. This enables proponents to develop areas containing threatened species and will result in wide losses of biodiversity. In practice this could result in a halving of remaining threatened species.
- Standardising environmental assessment requirements so that Councils are not able to promote sustainable practices beyond what is required at a State level.
For smaller developments, a significant number of applications will become exempt and rely on private certifiers, further downgrading community consultation. The role that planning arbitrators will have in smaller developments will mean that disputed cases will have a decision made in a very short time frame (14 days).
More information on this can be found on the Environmental Defender's Office website
Please contact Sam McGuinness , Sustainable Cities Campaigner for specific questions on these reforms.
Due to the scale of reform and the huge impact they will have on environmental protection and community consultation it is vital that the Government receive significant community feedback through the submission process.