BPN Apeals to Minister to Act on Their Feedback

Community groups and expert planners attending yesterday’s Better Planning Network Community Forum at Parliament House, appealed to the NSW Planning and Infrastructure Minister, Brad Hazzard, to make real and meaningful changes to the proposed planning system as a result of the Government’s consultation process, and not just pay it lip-service reports this BPN media release of 21 May 2013.

“There was a resounding message from everyone who attended our forum yesterday that the Government needs not only to listen to the people of NSW, but also to make meaningful changes to the proposed planning legislation, particularly when it comes to community engagement in development applications,“ said Better Planning Network’s Corinne Fisher.

Community groups attending the forum felt that the new planning system incorporates the needs of the developers but has paid no attention to the feedback on the Green Paper from individuals and community groups.

Within five years neighbours will only have a right to comment on 20% of development applications in their neighbourhood. People are also angry at the restrictions on objector appeal rights because these are seen as grossly unfair when developers appear to be able to object at will on a range of planning and development decisions,” Ms Fisher said.

Participants at the forum also questioned the Minister’s right to alter Strategic Plans, including Local Plans without further community consultation. ‘What is the point of Local Councils reaching consensus with their communities about local development and zoning if the Minister can force changes unilaterally? How does that fit with the Government’s promise to return planning powers to the people?”

Concerns were raised as to the risk of corruption and patronage contained in some provisions of the proposed legislation. “The Minister will be invested with significant powers and, while we do not believe the current Minister would abuse those powers, experience tells us that we need to be careful and BPN believes that the legislation should offer not such opportunities,” said Ms Fisher.

“We are asking the Government to act on the feedback it is being given by the community and expert planners and amend the draft legislation to address these issues,” she said.

Soruice: Petter Planning Network Media Release of 21 May 2013.