Did the state coalition break an election promises over ‘putting planning decisions back into the hands of the communities’?
Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson alluded to that after the state government’s quiet adoption of holiday park and reserve development plans in Brunswick Heads recently.
But local state MP Don Page (Nationals) sees it differently, despite having distanced himself completely from his government’s plans.
Mr Page told The Echo that the election commitment of ‘putting planning decisions back into the hands of the communities’ applied only to the abolition of Part 3A of the EP&A Act, ‘Whereby local developments could be called in to be dealt with via the department of planning in Sydney.’
‘The coalition state government, after we were elected, abolished part 3A of the EP&A Act and the majority of developments being dealt with under part 3A were returned to local councils to deal with. The great majority of applications being dealt with under that section were handed back to Councils.
‘The ones that weren’t were considered too advanced in the assessment process not to be finalised in fairness to the applicant. Projects of state significance continue to have the department of planning as the consent authority.’
The West Byron Project is considered to be of ‘state significance’ and a decision by new planning minister Pru Goward is expected shortly.