Mandatory expert planning panels good news for NSW

The announcement by the NSW Government today that expert independent planning panels will be mandatory across metropolitan Sydney and in Wollongong for developments valued between $5 million and $30 million is good news for sustainable growth in our state.

The decision reflects Glenn Stevens’ recommendation to the Premier that there should be mandatory independent planning panels and that members of these panels should have relevant qualifications and no conflict of interest.

“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,” Property Council of Australia NSW Deputy Executive Director Cheryl Thomas said today.

“We know that the community supports planning panels, in recent research commissioned by the Property Council, 81 per cent of respondents agreed that planning decisions for developments worth more than $10 million should be made by experts. There was also strong support for panels in the Hunter region and the mandatory policy should be extended here in the future.

“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.

“Sydney and wider NSW will continue to grow and develop and mandatory planning panels will mean that this growth will be streamlined and free from political influence. The role of local councils can now be elevated from making planning decisions on a case by case basis to creating a vision and a set of planning rules for sustainable growth that meets the needs of the community.

“Local governments are now also better placed across Sydney to implement the vision of the Greater Sydney Commission once District Plans are finalised later this year.

“We look forward to working with the State Government and local government on the full implementation of expert planning panels.” 

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