Ensure you never miss an issue of the
real estate business bulletin
NSW announces legislation to end 'dodgy and dirty' DAs

NSW announces legislation to end 'dodgy and dirty' DAs

by Sasha Karen 0 comments

The NSW government has announced that expert independent planning panels will be mandatory in Sydney and Wollongong for certain developments, which some see as good news while others see as "eroding local democracy".

Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts and Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton have announced a new bill to introduce mandatory Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAPs) for development applications in metropolitan Sydney and Wollongong for developments worth between $5 million and $30 million.

An IHAP will require one expert in at least planning, architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism, or government and public administration.

“I introduced legislation to end the dodgy and dirty backroom deals that have gone on for far too long inside local councils,” Mr Roberts said, announcing the new legislation on Facebook.

“The introduction of mandatory IHAPs across Greater Sydney mean[s] that shonky developers and their mates will no longer be able to flaunt their power with elected councillors in order to get their DAs through.

“To the lurk merchants and spivs who inhabit the dark corridors of council chambers across Sydney, your trade is done. Get another job. The jig is up.

“The NSW government is done with your corrupt and dodgy behaviour.”

This decision follows calls for experts, rather than politicians, to weigh in on development applications, as published previously.

The announcement has been met with acceptance by the Property Council of Australia while Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has stated that these panels will "erode local democracy".

“The announcement today is good news for both the community and for industry because it means the politics will be taken out of planning — experts will make the decisions on development, not local politicians,” said Cheryl Thomas, deputy executive of the Property Council of Australia NSW.

“It is good to see that the government has listened to the community and supports what is a common sense approach to planning — councils should set the rules and strategic objectives for their communities and then let experts make the decisions about whether developments comply.

Ms Thomas added that Sydney and wider NSW will continue to grow, and these mandatory planning panels will lend this growth to be streamlined and free from political influence, as well as allowing for local councils to set planning rules for growth that can meet the needs of their community.

LGNSW president and councillor of Coffs Harbour City Council Keith Rhoades, however, said that this decision can “reduce the accountability and transparency of planning decisions” for an alleged less than 3 per cent of all development applications to cost an estimated $100,000 per annum.

“Councillors are their community’s voice at the table. They have been elected to represent community views on key issues, such as planning decisions which will have long-term impacts on neighbourhoods,” Mr Rhoades said.

“And yet the government has determined that they cannot serve on a panel.

“Instead, councils will only be able to select one community member on the four-member panel, and two government-appointed experts that have been pre-approved by the minister.”

Mr Rhoades added that the decision has not affected Newcastle and other regional cities and coastal councils from the mandatory panels for the time being.

“At least, these councils can determine whether the panel option is the right choice for their area, and whether there are real benefits to the community rather than simply additional bureaucracy and cost — and less local democracy,” Mr Rhoades said.

NSW announces legislation to end 'dodgy and dirty' DAs
lawyersweekly logo
promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
reb top 100 agents 2017

The REB Top 100 Agents ranking is the foremost ranking of agents in Australia. It has set the bar for excellence in Australian real estate. To be ranked as an REB Top 100 Agent is the standard real estate professionals strive for. See the full 2018 ranking here!

featured podcast

featured podcast
The difference between an average agent and one who dominates

McGrath Crows Nest’s Peter Chauncy is number 10 in this year’s REB Top 100 Agents ranking. Peter, however, is more likely not surprised ...

View all podcasts

Would you consider working for Purplebricks or a similar 'DIY' model?

Yes (7.2%)
No (80.9%)
Perhaps - make me an offer (12%)

Total votes: 209
The voting for this poll has ended on: July 13, 2018
Do you have an industry update?