Tuesday, March 5, 2024

LGNSW slams State Govt’s ‘calling in’ of planning proposals

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President, Darriea Turley AM, has expressed disappointment in last week’s announcement by the NSW Government that it will assume planning control of three large housing developments in south-west Sydney.

Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes, Anthony Roberts said the Government was fast-tracking the assessment of the three large, complex and interrelated proposals, in a bid to boost housing supply in NSW. 

President Turley (pictured) says the move to “leapfrog” councils and assume planning control was “bitterly disappointing”.

“This is the latest example of the government “calling in” planning proposals and, while we support moves that will boost housing and assessment capacity, this must not be done by diminishing local decision-making powers,” she said.

“What makes this worse is that it was done without any meaningful consultation with local government.

“Instead of riding roughshod over councils’ planning powers, the government would be better placed to rethink its rush through of reforms such as the new agritourism policy, or about fixing its dysfunctional Planning Portal – both of which are taking council staff away from their normal assessment work.”

She said local government was best placed to lead local and regional planning.

“And we will continue to remind the government about this fundamental principle as we approach the State election in March 2023,” said President Turley.

“In addition, we will continue to demand that councils have the final say in any planning proposals that are called in for NSW Government assessment.”

The NSW Government will assess the three planning proposals for housing developments and koala corridors in Appin, Gilead and North Appin.

Mr Roberts said while planning proposals are normally lodged with councils in the first instance, the State will assess the proposals “given their combined significance, complexity, and strong housing and environmental benefits if approved”.

“The Department of Planning and Environment will undertake the assessment of these proposals, which are all located in the Greater Macarthur Growth Area, so councils don’t need to. However, it will be required to work closely with councils and other agencies to resolve any potential issues,” he said.

“Nothing about the assessment process changes including the important need for community consultation.”

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