Discussion paper

NSW planning bill 2013: A new planning system for New South Wales

Australia New South Wales

The NSW Government is proposing transformative changes to the planning system in NSW with a significant shift to a more strategic and streamlined system that facilitates economic growth and upfront community participation.

The transformative changes will move us from an overly regulated and prescriptive system to a simpler, strategic and more flexible performance based system. The new planning system will be based on transparency in process and decision making. The new planning system will deliver sustainable outcomes and improve people’s quality of life.

Blueprint for change
The NSW Government’s blueprint for change to the planning system is based around four funda- mental reforms:

• Community Participation The major shift in the new planning system is to engage communities as an integral part of making key planning decisions that will affect the growth of their communities.
• Strategic Focus A major shift to evidence based strategic plan- ning in terms of planning effort, community and stakeholder engagement and decision making.
• Streamlined Approval A shift to a performance based system in which duplicative layers of assessment have been removed, decisions are fast and transparent, and code complying development is maximised.
• Provision of Infrastructure A genuine integration of planning for infra- structure with the strategic planning of land use so that infrastructure that supports growth is funded and delivered.

The achievement of these four fundamental reforms will necessitate substantial operational and cultural changes for planning practitioners at all levels. Therefore, an additional component of the ‘blueprint for change’ will be an increased focus on delivery and the creation of a more facilitative planning culture.

The 23 transformative changes proposed in this Green Paper are summarised in Figure 1 and detailed in the sections of the Paper.

A new Planning Act
The new legislation will be an ‘enabling’ Act which will establish the broad framework for the planning system. The Act will not include detailed prescriptive controls, instead these details will be covered by guidance and good practice advisory notes.

The objectives of the Act will emphasise in particular the role of planning in facilitating wand managing growth and economic development.

The closing date for submissions is Friday 14 September 2012. For councils, the closing date has been extended to Friday 5 October 2012.

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