The role of planning panels in NSW: Jenny Rudolph

The role of planning panels in NSW: Jenny Rudolph
The role of planning panels in NSW: Jenny Rudolph

GUEST OBSERVER

PIA supports the thrust of the proposed reforms to the NSW planning system to improve the impact of strategic planning, strengthen community engagement and build community trust.

The NSW Government today foreshadowed a different direction to the exhibited reforms by seeking to mandate independent planning panels of experts to determine high value development applications in every council.

The previously exhibited reforms included a power for the Minister of Planning to order the establishment of a panel for a particular council – rather than a general requirement for every council.

PIA continues to support the selective introduction of Local Planning Panels with determinative authority especially in urban areas with a high development assessment volume and in circumstances where there is no delegation of assessment or determination to appropriate council officers.

This is consistent with our submission to the reforms. However, they should not be mandated in circumstances where there is an effective and harmonious alternative delegation system in operation.

PIA continues to support a streamlined and effective process of decision making for planning applications. If there are councils where there are resources, and there is an effective and harmonious alternative delegation system in operation, PIA NSW believes that Planning Panels should not be mandated.

PIA continues to support an effective role for elected councillors, particularly in making strategic planning policy for the LGA to achieve outcomes for communities and places.

The administration function relating to approvals/refusals should be managed either by delegation to staff, or in the case of more substantial matters by a panel who are equipped to take on technically complex assessments.

Panels are good for their detailed expertise, complex development assessment, and independent assessment and they do reinforce the fact that good governance is needed in the development application process.

Jenny Rudolph is president, PIA NSW, and can be contacted here.

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Development Application Nsw Government

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