21 July 2009
“Regional Planning Panels are just the latest step in this government’s march towards centralising all planning powers in the hands of the Planning Minister”, said Sylvia Hale, Greens Planning spokesperson.
“The majority of panel members are appointed by and answerable to the Minister, yet it is local councils who will continue to bear most of the costs,” said Ms Hale.
Greens MP and Spokesperson on Planning Sylvia Hale met with local Greens councillors this morning to discuss the implications of the State Government’s radical planning changes and the new Regional Planning Panels.
Newcastle Greens councillor, Michael Osborne and Lake Macquarie’s Hannah Gissane said that both councils have supported the call from the Local Government Association to delay nominating representatives to the regional panels because they will not serve the interests of local communities.
Sue Wynn, Wyong Greens councillor, said her council had passed a motion condemning changes to the Heritage Act that would be involved with the panels.
“When you consider such a bad example of poor state planning as overdevelopment that will occur at Catherine Hill Bay and also the controversial prospect of development at Gwandalan, communities and councils should have more of a say about such matters. These panels offer even less input at a time when we face increasing pressures to squeeze in more development. ” said Cr Gissane.
Cr Osborne said the $2.4 million that the government is spending to set up and administer the regional panels should be directed to cash-strapped councils who continue to carry the workload of development assessments for the local community even though they have been deprived of the role in determining many Development Applications.
Ms Hale will be speaking about problems with the NSW planning system, and how it is marred by millions of dollars in developer donations and the exclusion of community input, together with solutions, at Politics At The Pub, Station Hotel, Hamilton at 6.30pm.