Over the past few days, the planning bills have been debated in the Upper House and I am pleased to report that further positive amendments have been made.
Most importantly, Code Assessment has been removed, which means that you retain your right to have a say on development in your neighbourhood, regardless of whether it has been designated a "high-growth" area or not.
There were welcome amendments supporting affordable housing provisions for new developments and guaranteeing stronger community participation in the planning process.
The controversial provisions of the Mining State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), which placed the economic importance of a development above community and environmental concerns, were also repealed.
However, NSW's new planning system may still contain Strategic Compatibility Certificates (SCC), which override the need for any merit assessment. These developer-initiated rezoning certificates, issued by the Minister, can override any local strategic plan made by you and your democratically elected representatives.
The planning bills will go back to the Lower House where the Government will either support the amendments or withdraw the bill entirely and start again from scratch.