New South Wales planning and heritage legislation needs a comprehensive overhaul. The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, which was progressive reform 25 years ago, has been undermined by ad hoc and harmful amendments.
I led opposition to successive changes (including ‘Part 3A’) that have gutted transparency, democracy and accountability from planning legislation to fast-track development at the expense of environment and heritage protection and people’s say in their neighbourhood.
Planning decisions made by local elected representatives who understand their communities have been replaced by centralised decision making, including the Planning Minster, Joint Regional Planning Panels, and developer-appointed and funded certifiers. These changes were introduced while both major parties received substantial donations from the development industry.
The Central Sydney Planning Committee (CSPC) provides a better model for local and state cooperation on major planning decisions. The 2010 independent review of the CSPC confirmed it operates in a professional and independent manner, and is an effective and efficient committee.
Throughout my time as elected representative, I have joined and led many rallies to defend our heritage. As Lord Mayor of Sydney, I am committed to strong local heritage controls and working to get the best outcomes where state legislation fails to provide needed protection.
As State MP, I consult local communities to prepare submissions and push for better community outcomes where the Minister has taken control. I have pursued better outcomes for the Paddington Scottish Hospital site, St Vincent’s Hospital precinct and at Barangaroo.
I worked hard with the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, but was unable to remain on the Board as my concern grew about the lack of accountability, inadequate consultation and the rushed process. The City’s expert submissions put forward alternatives that received considerable community support, but the Minister ignored these proposals.
As Lord Mayor, I promote coordinated, transparent and accountable planning processes at the City of Sydney. We integrate transport and land use planning to ensure real choice to walk or ride a bike to local shops, services or public transport.
The City’s draft new ‘City Plan’ is a single set of updated planning controls to guide future development. It includes a completely revised Local Environment Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP), prepared through consultation and detailed study of every lot for appropriate height, density and public domain—with new sustainability principles.
This Plan will provide more than 80 per cent of the housing and jobs targets set by the State Government and incorporated in Sustainable Sydney 2030. Our underlying approach is to protect the character of existing residential and heritage areas, and focus balanced and responsible levels of development in renewal areas such as Green Square, Barangaroo, CUB and Harold Park.
Australians are opting for denser and more sustainable inner city living—not just young singles and empty-nesters, but families as well. Great cities across the globe have shown that density works, but only when essential infrastructure such as transport and open space is provided. It works when good design allows people to live in close proximity while maintaining privacy and amenity.
The City of Sydney’s Design Advisory Panel has earned a reputation for outstanding quality and we have actively sought industry-respected professionals for our strategic and planning positions.
Our commitment to design excellence has been recognised in prestigious awards for the Surry Hills Library and Community Centre; Pirrama Park; Redfern Park and Oval; Sydney Town Hall essential services upgrade; Sydney Park amenities building and Paddington Reservoir Gardens.