This paper examines the distribution of decision-making powers under the proposed reforms to the New South Wales planning system, with particular reference to Ministerial discretionary powers, development assessment, and appeals.
In April 2013 the Government of NSW released a White Paper and two Exposure Bills detailing its proposals for the reform of the State planning laws. These proposals included significant changes to the decision-making powers of several bodies, and reforms to development assessment.
Reform of the planning system continues to be a work in progress. In response to concerns voiced by the community and key stakeholders, including local government, on 19 September 2013 the Minister for Planning announced a number of changes to the proposals set out in the White Paper. However community and environmental groups have continued to argue that fundamental problems remain. Specific details of the changes announced by the Minister remain unclear.
This paper examines the distribution of decision-making powers under the proposed system with particular reference to Ministerial discretionary powers, development assessment, and appeals. Commentary from selected stakeholders in response to the White Paper provides some analysis of the proposed system; these comments are too complex and extensive to be encapsulated in this summary. While a broad cross-section of stakeholders was selected, this paper does not purport to represent all stakeholder positions on the White Paper and Exposure Bills.