Saturday, April 13, 2024

NSW councils to tell tale of many cities

A vision to recognise the economic powerhouses of Wollongong, Newcastle and the Central Coast has been welcomed by Local Government NSW, which has called for a true partnership between the state and local governments to drive a brighter future for NSW residents.

The vision, outlined by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet in his Bradfield Oration delivered on Friday, includes a new Minister for Cities to Cabinet and a Greater Cities Commission – a re-engineering of the existing Greater Sydney Commission.

“A new Minister for Cities, working alongside a Minister for Regional NSW and in partnership with councils as the third tier of government, is good news for our state,” LGNSW President, Linda Scott said.

“Our major metropolitan areas are rightly being recognised as economic drivers in this vision.

“They are complemented by our cities beyond these confines – the great regional cities and centres, such as Dubbo, Albury, Wagga, Orange and Grafton on the rapidly growing north coast.

“NSW really is a ‘Tale of Many Cities’, and councils welcome all opportunities to work closely with Premier Perrottet and his government to bring this about.

“As the third tier of government, our councils will be tasked with undertaking a great deal of the work required to bring these visions to fruition, so the more closely the two tiers of government can work together, the better the outcomes for NSW.”

Cr Scott said the Premier’s vision was delivered in conjunction with the fresh announcement of a planned overhaul of NSW Planning Principles by Planning Minister, Rob Stokes.

The new-look principles are designed to consolidate State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPS) and place other elements of the current planning system into a new framework.

“Planning is jointly delivered by local and state governments, and so it is important that it is co-designed,” she said.

“Councils have been doing a remarkable job to keep up with all the planning reforms – they are currently grappling with having to recalibrate their systems to integrate with the NSW Planning Portal; to amend, develop and update their land use plans; prepare new plans and implementation strategies for housing and employment; change the names and definitions in their policies and plans in response to numerous reforms; and increase their planning and development reporting – all with significant shortages of professional planning staff.

“On these grounds I would again urge Premier Perrottet and Minister Stokes to work closely with local government to ensure the vision has everything it needs to proceed.

“Even the best plans need time to implement smoothly, and we do not want to set our state up to fail.

“LGNSW looks forward to working with the current or any future Planning Minister to ensure the outcomes benefitted communities right across NSW.”

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