Planning legislation 'unfair'

Janine Kitson

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW is calling on the O’Farrell Government to withdraw its planning legislation.

The council argues that the bills fail to deliver a fair, sustainable planning system or positive environmental and social outcomes for NSW. It says the interests of developers and industry are placed ahead of those of local communities and the environment.

The Nature Conservation Council is concerned that:

  • the principles of ecologically sustainable development are not included in the legislation, despite strong support from the community and key stakeholders
  • the proposed laws do not properly implement the Minister’s September announcement that code assessible development will only apply in nominated growth areas
  • the proposed laws continue to provide developers with multiple mechanisms to override local plans (for example rezoning applications, rezoning appeals and strategic compatibility certificates), with no corresponding rights for the broader community
  • the proposed ‘one-stop shop’ undermines the important role of expert agencies in the development assessment process, concentrating excessive power in the Director-General of Planning.

The Better Planning Network argues the new planning laws will shut communities out of decision-making, undermine environment and heritage protections, increase the risk of corruption and hand over power to big developers.

Recently the planning legislation was passed in the Lower House. However, it was opposed by the Labor Party, Greens NSW and Independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich. The legislation is expected to be debated in the Legislative Council by mid-November.

Janine Kitson is Federation’s Representative to the NSW Nature Conservation Council (www.nccnsw.org.au) and teaches at West Ryde PS.