The O’Farrell Government has rewarded developers and dumped its election commitment to return planning powers to local communities, following today’s long overdue release of the NSW Planning White Paper.
The NSW Liberal/National election policy stated:
“The NSW Liberal and National Parties are committed to returning local planning powers to local communities (through their councils). We believe that local residents – through councils – are best placed to make local planning decisions affecting their suburbs… is local residents – not Macquarie Street planners – who have to live with the results of these planning decisions.” – (Source: Start the Change document p.59)
Labor Councillor Jerome Laxale, who recently called for further public consultation on the planning workshop, said the O’Farrell Government had torn up their election commitment – with the White Paper setting out plans to centralise and take planning away from local communities.
“Barry O’Farrell and Victor Dominello sought and were given a mandate to return planning powers to local communities at the last election – today they have broken that promise,” Mr Laxale said.
“Local residents will no longer get to have their say on specific development decisions – new apartment blocks, town house complexes and even subdivisions will sail through the planning process with no opportunity for council or community input.
“There is no doubt we need to get more housing built in Sydney, but a good planning regime creates viable, coherent communities and a sustainable environment – not just large scale developments being dumped in communities who don’t get a say.”
Shadow Planning Minister Luke Foley said: “This will be a picnic for developers – major developments, apartments and town-house complexes will be able to spring up in residential areas without an adequate approval process.”
“The strategic planning process can only be as good as the community consultation which informs it, however, Barry O’Farrell seems determine to reward developers over local communities.
“In addition, for all Mr O’Farrell’s talk about dumping Part 3A, the Ministerial powers to override local decision making remains just as strong as ever.”