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Corruption Risk Remains in NSW Planning Bills Despite ICAC Warning

The NSW Government has ignored warnings from the Independent Commission Against Corruption that its new planning system is open to corruption. Better Planning Network’s Corrine Fisher said “We are deeply concerned that there will be a high risk of corruption occurring under the new laws'' in this media release from The Better Planning Network on 27 June 2013.

In its submission on the Planning Green Paper in September 2012, the ICAC identified corruption risk in areas including:

  • increased flexibility of the new system;

  • the newly created merit assessment stream for non-compliant proposals;

  • the wide discretion afforded decisions makers where large windfall gains are possible;

  • expansion of appeal rights for proponents (developers) even when they submit a non-compliant proposal, with no similar appeal rights for objectors.

“It is surprising that the ICAC had to remind the Government of these risks when the Green Paper came out because they had already produced a report Anti-Corruption Safeguards and the NSW Planning System seven months earlier. It seems the report was ignored then and there’s no evidence that the Government has acted even now,” said Ms Fisher.

The Better Planning Network has produced an analysis of how the new Planning Bills fail to meet the six corruption safeguards that the ICAC recommended should be integrated into the NSW Planning System to reduce the frequency of corruption. That analysis is attached to this email.
BPN urges the Government to commission the ICAC to audit the planning Bills.

''We want an assurance that the Government will be rigorous in weeding out corruption risks from the new Planning system,” said Ms Fisher. “The corruption risks should be addressed and removed before the legislation is presented to Parliament.”

‘The people of NSW have a right to expect that corruption risk is not an integral part of the State’s planning system and the government has a responsibility to ensure that it is not.”

For more information contact Corinne Fisher