Planning Bills are Passed and then Withdrawn

17 Stanley Avenue Mosman 10After three readings and fifty-one amendments, the NSW Planning Bill and Planning Administration Bill were passed by the Legislative Council on Wednesday evening, 27 November 2013 and then withdrawn the very next day as a result of advice the government received from the development lobby. Too many amendments they cried. Too watered down and meaningless, they advised. And so the bill has been withdrawn.

Its back to the drawing board for NSW Planning and all the better too. Once again, NSW heritage can breathe a sigh of relief, but for how long? What will come back to Parliament is the big question now.

The amendments sought by a coalition of the Opposition, Greens and Shooters and Fishers Party include:

  • Removal of Code Assessable Development which was originally included so that development applications in high growth areas that complied with certain agreed requirements would be approved within 25 days.  Code Assessable Development was touted as a way to fast-track development in the booming suburbs of Western Sydney.  It was seen by some to curtail the ability of residents to object to developments that fell within this category. EXCELLENT NEWS FOR LOCALLY LISTED HERITAGE PLACES.
  • Affordable housing contributions have been inserted that require, in certain circumstances, the consent authority to impose conditions on development consents to make a dedication of land to be used for the provision of affordable housing, or for the payment of money toward the provision of affordable housing.
  • The Planning Bill as originally tabled placed economic growth at the forefront of the Act’s objectives.  There is now greater emphasis on management of development, conservation of natural and artificial resources. A GOOD OUTCOME FOR CULTURAL BUILT HERITAGE.
  • There have been changes with respect to public notice of community participation in proposed strategic plans.  The Bill has been amended to include a 28 day exhibition period for planning proposals (other than with respect to minor proposals).
  • Other changes that were sought by the Greens in particular, were not passed.  They included placing ‘ecologically sustainable development’ as the principal object of the Bill, and a requirement that private certifiers be appointed by the Building Professionals Board. ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INCLUDES THE PROTECTION OF CULTURAL BUILT HERITAGE.

The significance of the amendments has led the Minister for Planning to announce in the Legislative Assembly on 29 November 2013 that the Government has decided to defer debate of the Amended Bill. As a result, no vote in the Lower House will take place until March 2014 at the earliest. BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF.

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Paul Rappoport - Heritage 21 - 22 September 2017

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