Planning Minister Tells Development Industry Planning Reforms Will Be ‘Radical’

07/06/2012 12:20 am

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure yesterday announced a package of measures that will be rolled out to streamline housing delivery in NSW.

A number of system-wide issues have been identified that complicate the planning process and add unnecessary delays and costs to housing supply. The reforms seeks to outline the roles of various consent authorities in planning process in relation to the following issues:

  • Riparian corridors;
  • Bush fire planning;
  • Biodiversity; and
  • Aboriginal cultural heritage.

The Government is trying to put these hot button issues to bed before bringing in major reforms to the states main piece of planning legislation, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

While the reforms were being released yesterday the Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard, told members from one of the state's top development associations, UDIA, that the O'Farrell Government's reforms to the planning act, "is going to be radical".

"There is no question in my mind... that we need to go into a space where no one has tried to go into before. We need to go in the direction of making sure that there is strategic planning upfront. That's a bit of challenge because most of the community don't switch on until its right in their backyard. We need to find away that facilitates the communities involvement in that strategic planning process. Because they have to own the outcome. They may not like it but that have to own the outcome."  Hazzard said.

The Green Paper on a proposed new planning act is expected to be released later this month. The Minster announced that he wants to get the red tape out of the way and get to the stage where a developers and owners can be certain when they analyse a piece of land, "If I'm in the footprint, at this height. I will be able to get an approval in weeks, rather than years".

This is a major challenge as currently it can take up to 20 years to get a rezoning on sites that are even identified for new housing in local and state strategic plans. If the Green Paper, White Paper and eventual new planning act really does deliver on tackling these issues, preventing certainty in the development process, the reforms will be 'radical' and will likely experience an over-hyped and ill-informed backlash. However, the state needs a government with the courage to achieve such reform in order to restore NSW back to it's competitive edge.

Stay posted for all our coverage and analysis of The Green Paper when it is released later this month.