Since the NSW Government announced it would reform planning laws I have called for the process to be done with the economic and environmental health of the City and the public interest in mind.
Planning laws can help build economically and environmentally sustainable cities and empower communities - if they are done really well. When done poorly, without proper checks and balances, the outcome can be disastrous.
The City has called for improvements to be made to the new planning laws, and I have raised these issues with the Minister. Recently the NSW Planning Department has acknowledged that the draft laws would not live up to the intentions outlined by the Government.
In response to the diligence of the Better Planning Network, the Department has also acknowledged that the draft new planning laws do not reflect the public advice given by the Department.
The Planning Department now accepts that despite telling the public that ecologically sustainable development was "enshrined" in the new laws, in the current wording, no such protection exists.
Despite telling the public that new laws would not reduce people's rights to have planning decisions reviewed in court, the Planning Department has acknowledged that the new laws as drafted, would do exactly that.
And despite assurances that the Heritage Council's powers to protect important parts of our history were safe, the Planning Department now admits those powers would be "open to interpretation" given the lack of clarity between intent and drafting.
The Planning Department has shown willingness to remove these obvious flaws that urgently need to be addressed.
I encourage the Government use this opportunity to amend the draft legislation and then provide the public with revised legislation so that we can all make a well informed decision about the future of our state.
Visit our new Keep It Local website to find out what people are saying about the changes to planning laws and local government.