New planning legislation enters NSW Parliament

NSW can begin the task of ‘’rebooting its planning regime’’ with legislation to govern the system introduced into the Lower House yesterday, the Property Council of Australia says.

Despite having a fair way to go before becoming law, the introduction has pleased the NSW executive director, Glenn Byres. He said yesterday: "Chronic housing shortages, crippling red tape and high hurdles to investment are legacies of the current system - and it needs to be junked.

"We desperately need a fresh start and the case for rebuilding confidence among investors, councils and the community is compelling.’’

Byres said a clear set of rules, applied objectively, with depoliticised development assessment, more e-planning and fewer planning policies, were all features of best-practice planning.

"The new legislation won't please everyone,’’ he said. ‘’Demands and foot-stamping by local government saw the application of code assessment stripped back.’’

He said there had been other concessions to councils and self-appointed community groups ‘’who chose volume over valid argument in the public debate’’.

"Industry also needs comfort that vigilance and discipline will apply to implementation and an acknowledgement that the reform task is continuous.

"NSW is in an endless chase for capital, so embedding the new system quickly will help us secure the next wave of investment needed to sustain prosperity.’’

Byres said the property industry generated one-in-10 jobs in NSW and pays over $18 billion in salaries to workers and families across the state. Its members own, finance, manage and develop the nation's major commercial office, retail, industrial, hotel, retirement living and residential assets.

"But the pending legislation - coupled with meaningful cultural reform and real accountability - can signal the start of a more contemporary system.

"We hope all parliamentarians give a tick to better planning laws."

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