Posted on April 27, 2014 · Posted in Uncategorized

In late 2013, the NSW State Government sought to introduce the Planning Bill 2013 and Planning Administration Bill 2013 to replace the current Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. This follows the release of a Green Paper (outline) in July 2012 and White Paper (detail) in April 2013.

However, the bills were blocked by the NSW Lower House on 28 November 2013 and as at April 2014 the bills have not been reintroduced to parliament. With the Honourable Pru Goward replacing Brad Hazzard as Planning Minister the legislative process is in further turmoil. As it stands, political negotiation is likely to significantly water down the planning legislation if it is reintroduced at all before the next election.

Our position is that the new NSW planning legislation holds a number of opportunities to reduce the complexity of the current planning system and to focus more on strategic planning, consultation, and clear development outcomes.  However, there are a number of clear hurdles – particularly in regional and rural NSW where the Code Assessment stream is less likely to be supported and there are significant resourcing / funding issues for Councils to achieve new local plans and development guidelines.

The Department of Planning & Environment (the new Department’s name) remains committed to cultural change and education to improve development assessment and decision-making but the mechanics of this are yet to be detailed. Watch this space as the politics and lobbying continue to unfold in 2014!

About the Author

Andrew Napier is the founder and principal of iPLAN PROJECTS with over ten years’ experience in both private consultancy and local government. Andrew specialises in strategic planning (including community engagement strategies, land use strategies, local environmental plans and development control plans) and complex development projects (including multi-unit residential developments, mixed use buildings, and large commercial and industrial developments. Andrew has advised state government, large city and rural councils, and private developers across China, NSW and Victoria.