The NSW Government Green Paper on changing the planning system could deliver significant reform after years of ad hoc amendments by successive governments, which have eroded transparency, accountability and democracy in what was once a progressive planning system.
The Green Paper's broad proposals for increased community participation, strategic planning focus and infrastructure for growth areas are very positive. However, particular proposals raise significant concerns.
Effective community participation at the strategic planning stages is important, but creating a culture of participation in planning will be difficult at this stage, as people usually engage only when there is a proposal that will affect them.
I am concerned that the State Government would control major developments, effectively reinstating Part 3A, and assessment loopholes for developments that comply with regional planning objectives are proposed.
Regional Planning Boards of bureaucrats and experts would make long term strategic planning decisions like rezoning without input from elected councillors.
The City has involved the community in planning and good development and urban renewal is taking place that will enable us to meet about 85 per cent of our housing and jobs targets.
Metropolitan Sydney needs to build on average 25,000 dwellings each year to house a growing population but we're falling short and the threat of climate change makes sustainable development essential.
It is not time to disenfranchise communities and set residents against developers. We need a modern planning system that delivers certainty for industry and applicants, while enabling community input, protecting residential amenity and ensuring heritage and environment protection.