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Sydney Uni Consultation Issues

The following items appeared in the South Sydney Herald 15 march 2014. The first is an article by Geoff Turnbull giving a resident view of the the Sydney Uni Campus Improvement Plan consultation problem. The second was from the University's column in the South Sydsney Herald anoucing an extension of the consultation.

Sydney Uni – consultation disaster

In setting the areas that the University of Sydney’s Campus Improvement Program (CIP) had to address, the Department of Planning Director General’s Requirements (DGRs) specifically required the University to undertake consultation with, among other stakeholders, community groups. REDWatch and RAIDD (Residents Acting In Darlington’s Defence) were specifically referred to in the DGRs as groups the University had to consult with in its preparation. Further, the application to the Department had to describe the consultation process, the issues groups raised, whether or not the plan had been amended, or, if amendments were not made, why it had not been amended. This condition was in line with the Government’s proposal to get communities involved early in planning.

Inexplicably, the University did not follow these requirements and included broad community comments from earlier consultations. The community groups only saw details when the CIP went on statutory exhibition for 28 days. This resulted in many complaints about the short exhibition time for such a large and important development. In late February, the University, “as a gesture of good will”, agreed to undertake further consultation until the end of March, and to consider any input received in their deliberations and in their reporting back to the Department. While the exhibition has formally closed, the Department does accept submissions for a reasonable time after the closing date.

The University could have avoided further eroding good will in the surrounding community, and avoided confusion, if it had complied with the DGRs. Community groups would have had an opportunity to raise issues and have them considered before the CIP was finalised, and would have been able to comment on outstanding issues during the formal exhibition. Instead, they only received a narrow window within which to understand the proposal, consult their members and make comment.

Geoff Turnbull has been a community representative on built environment issues since 2005 and is also REDWatch spokesperson.

Sydney Uni – consultation disaster

Sydney University Advertisement

Whenever the University of Sydney embarks on a new development program, we welcome feedback from the local community and do our utmost to respond to the needs of all our neighbours. Take our development program for the next seven years – the Campus Improvement Program – which enhances our proud tradition of investing in the future of Camperdown and Darlington. When you asked us to extend the consultation period for this proposal we listened, and it will now be on display in our Services Building until 31 March 2014.

The NSW Government’s Planning and Infrastructure agency had earlier advised us to conclude the statutory public exhibition and consultation period on 28 February 2014, but we have chosen to extend it by 31 days.

This will give you more time to get further information and advice before you comment on the program, and will enable us to respond to everyone who has provided feedback during this longer consultation period.

The University wants all of our developments to enhance the amenity of the neighbourhood we share. This program will improve the cultural, recreational, research and education facilities we offer our students, staff and the wider community. It will re-define the location and purpose of buildings across six campus precincts and create community spaces that are more tailored to the needs of local residents and visitors. These spaces include pedestrian and cycle paths, parking areas, and better community access to University facilities.

You can see the Campus Improvement Program brought to life in the foyer of our Services Building (G12), 22 Codrington Street, Darlington. To comment, please visit and, under ‘Search projects’, enter 6123.

Planning and Infrastructure will consider written submissions for a short period of time beyond the 28 February finishing date.

We encourage you to use these feedback channels, and want everyone to benefit from the social, cultural and recreational enhancements that this program generates. By getting involved, you can both recognise our own contribution and help us to maximise these benefits.

If you would prefer to chat to us face to face, you can attend one of our new community information drop-in sessions in the foyer of our Services Building. During these sessions you will discover more about our vision for the program, and have the opportunity to pose your questions to members of the team.

You are welcome to take advantage of any of the sessions on Wednesday 12 March, from 5 to 7pm; Wednesday 19 March, from 5 to 7pm; and Saturday 22 March, from 11am to 1pm.

We hope that you find the additional information sessions and the extended time frame useful, and look forward to receiving your feedback.

Michael Spence

Vice-Chancellor and Principal


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Source: South Sydney Herald March 2014 Print Edition