NSW Planning Bill: What you need to know

Wayne Gersbach, General Manager for New South Wales writes: Following extensive public and industry consultation, the NSW Planning Bill has passed through the Legislative Assembly, the first step towards the overhaul of the much-maligned NSW planning system.

As many would know, a slightly 'watered-down' version of the Bill was presented to the Assembly, leaving industry and practitioners somewhat concerned that the new legislation may not deliver all of its well vaunted streamlined advantages.

Recent changes to the Bill aim to:

  • retain rights of community members to challenge major decisions, and to seek judicial review of decisions,
  • strengthening the community participation charter and creating a panel to oversee community involvement - potentially creating an even more litigious system than the present,
  • give councils a greater role in determining what will be code assessable and scrapping the target of 80% of developments being assessed in this manner,
  • provide checks and balances on the exercise of functions by the Minister; and
  • to reinstate the role of the Heritage Council.

The new Act will come into force during 2014.  Savings and transitional provisions will ensure that DAs lodged under the current legislation will be assessed and determined under current law.  Also, in 2014 a new Planning Regulation will be prepared and exhibited.

Download the recent State Government presentation on the legislation to Local Government here.

Contact Wayne Gersbach, General Manager for New  South Wales if you have any queries in relation to the new changes or to discuss your company's planning requirements.