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Macarthur Regional Organisation of Councils

Camden, Campbelltown, Wollondilly

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Submission to the Planning Review Panel

MACROC welcomes the opportunity to comment on this stage of the review of the planning system in New South Wales.  This submission provides a regional response to the Planning Review Panel, established to review the planning system operating in NSW and to provide independent advice to the Minister and the NSW Government. 

MACROC understands that the issues paper “The Way Ahead for Planning in NSW?” reflects matters that were raised during the consultation process and that the next step for the Review Panel is to consider the responses made to this document as well as best practice planning models from both Australia and internationally.  MACROC looks forward to the opportunity to provide further comment on policy options and on draft legislation.

MACROC Member Councils have provided detailed responses to the Panel on the questions asked in the Issues Paper so in this submission MACROC would like to focus more broadly on regional issues and key specialised planning issues.

MACROC would like to comment on the following feedback questions listed in the Issues Paper:

A. Introduction

MACROC believes that:
• The underpinning objective and philosophy of a new legislative structure for planning should promote economic development balanced with social considerations, environmental protection and natural resource management.
• The new legislation should support the timely delivery of public facilities and critical infrastructure as a core planning issue.
• The new legislation should be written in plain English, be simple, clear and inexpensive for users. 
• The new legislation should acknowledge that planning issues for Growth Centre Councils are different to those of inner ring Councils.

B. Key Elements, Structure and Objectives of a New Planning System

MACROC believes that:
• All objectives should be given equal weight within the new planning legislation however the importance of the various objectives will vary depending on the development.
• Regional strategic planning should be enshrined in legislation and that regions determined by ROC boundaries.
• Applications for local development should be determined by local Councils.
• Applications for regionally significant development should be determined by relevant Councils in consultation with other Councils in the area and with relevant government bodies.

C. Making Plans

MACROC believes that:
• Strategic planning at State and regional levels should be undertaken by Department of Planning and Infrastructure in consultation with Regional Organisations of Councils and individual Local Government Areas.
• New planning legislation should provide a statutory framework for the preparation of strategic plans.
• The planning system needs to ensure that local communities have an opportunity to be heard particularly in regard to major developments that will impact on communities.
• Strategic plans should be given statutory recognition.
• The number of SEPPS should be reduced.
• The planning process needs to strike a balance between the rights of developers and broader community needs.  Current caps on Section 94 contributions need to be reviewed to ensure that infrastructure needs in new developments can be met.
• Developers of greenfield residential land release areas should not be required to make provision for registered clubs and associated facilities, these should be accommodated in commercial areas.  They should provide appropriate community facilities.

D. Development Proposals and Assessment

MACROC believes that:
• The public should be informed of State Significant Development within their area as soon as possible.
• State Significant Development should be determined by an independent body or the Minister and affected Councils should be able to assess applications and provide recommendations to the consent authority.
• If proposed development requires an environmental impact statement this should be required even if the proposal is small in size.  The EIS should only be undertaken by a qualified and accredited practitioner.
• Pre development applications must be governed by statutory rules and a state wide approach, so that all parties know what to provide and receive.  The pre DA meeting should not be considered a tacit approval of the proposal. Council should be able to charge a fee for this service.
• A standard template development application form could be provided to all Councils and Councils could add additional questions they considered appropriate.
• Charging a higher fee for fast tracking development applications is not appropriate.  There are issues here around equity and probity.
• If Joint Regional Planning Panels are maintained in the new legislation then Councils should have a right to seek exemption from having applications referred to the Panel.  The JRPPs should have the ability to tailor membership and expertise relevant to particular development proposals.
• The system of Private Certification needs to be reviewed to ensure private certifiers are accountable and liable for the work they approve. Developers should not be permitted to select their own certifiers and private certifiers should not be able to release final occupation certificates until notice is given by Council that all fees and charges including monetary contributions under s94/s94A have been paid in full.

E. Appeals and Reviews; Enforcement and Compliance

MACROC believes that:
• The current appeals process is adequate.
• Third party appeals should not be permitted.
• Review decisions should be final.
• Councils should be able to recover costs from private certifiers for costs incurred regarding unauthorised work.

F. Implementation of the New Planning System

MACROC believes that:
• The Department of Planning and Infrastructure has the lead role in implementing the new planning legislation, however there should be continued consultation with Local Government.  Any significant changes to Council operations that result from the new planning system should be appropriately funded and resourced by the State Government.
• In order for the community to take ownership of the new planning system there needs to be early engagement with the public and the community strategic planning process needs to be acknowledged and aligned with the NSW State Plan.  There also needs to be a better understanding of the planning process and the roles and responsibilities of the people involved.  Plain English guidelines should be produced for the general public as well as all other groups involved in the planning process.

MACROC thanks you for the opportunity to provide further input into the Review of the NSW Planning System.  This submission provides some comments on the second stage of the review of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.  It is hoped that the comments made in this submission will be considered by the Planning Review Panel together with the more detailed individual submissions made by MACROC Member Councils: Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly.  MACROC looks forward to the opportunity for further comment on the Green Paper in the next stage of the review process.

 
Prepared by Christine Winning
Executive Officer
MACROC
February 2012

File: Submission to the Planning Review Panel
Format/Size: PDF - 58 KB
Version: 02/03/2012

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