NSW planning minister, Brad Hazzard, has a developers’ wet dream up his sleeve. Later this month he is due to introduce into NSW parliament a travesty of the old Environmental Planning and Assessment Act with planning reforms that have taken the environment out of the name as well as the equation.
Sweeping new changes will remove community right to have a say on up to 80 per cent of developments which means you might suddenly see, for instance, blocks of flats mushrooming up and you will have no right to comment.
Our quality of life, environment and heritage is at stake and the planning system is being used to drive ‘development at any cost’, CSG included.
Even planning and infrastructure department director-general Sam Haddad has conceded that ‘department staff may have unintentionally spread “inaccurate or misleading information” about the changes, touted as the biggest overhaul of the state’s planning system in more than 30 years‘ (SMH 13.8.13).
Furthermore ICAC warned that the new system carries serious corruption risks. The O’Farrell government was elected in 2011 on the promise to return planning powers to the community and this draft legislation does the opposite.
Please go to www.betterplanningnetwork.org.au for info and emailing local MPs. State government will decide on these drastic changes in a few weeks, so it’s urgent.
Deborah Lilly, Mullumbimby