In brief

01 November 2010

The NSW Cabinet has approved the creation of an Urban Renewal State Environmental Planning Policy, although the text of the document has not yet publicly been released. The government also announced that Newcastle CBD has been listed under the SEPP in addition to Redfern-Waterloo and Granville town centre. We anticipate that the Hunter Development Corporation will be given the job of preparing a precinct plan for the Newcastle CBD. The NSW government’s media release is available from here.

The Threatened Species Conservation Act is under review. The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water has prepared a background paper to assist the consultation process. Written submissions should be received by the Department of Environment, Climate Change by 5pm Wednesday, 17 November 2010. Please contact us if there are any matters you think we should raise in our submission.

Transport NSW have called for tenders for the preparation of a City Centre Access Plan. The intent of this plan is to provide advice and strategies for what should be done to improve the flow of people in and out of the CBD by public transport, car, bicycle, walking and the new light rail service through the city’s centre. The plan will consider land use planning issues and their influence over transport patronage. Furthermore, we note that car parking and demand management strategies are also to be considered. Further information on the tender may be accessed from here.  The government’s media release is available from here.

The NSW government is trialling on-line complying development applications on lots more than 450 square metres. We understand that twelve councils and ten private certifiers will be involved in the trial. The Government says that this system should make the processing of complying development certificates easier and more efficient. Further information may be accessed from here.

The Building Professionals Board is seeking comments on two draft guides focusing on building inspections of new residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The guides outline the nature and purpose of the critical stage inspections and provide checklists for each inspection and the matters certifying authorities should inspect when on site. The Building Professionals Board say that the guides will not be mandatory, but when conducting audits the Board would expect to see evidence of use of the checklists, or their equivalent, on the files of certifying authorities. Comments on these guidelines must be received by Friday 12 November 2010 and should be directed to Guidelines for detached dwellings are here.  Guidelines for other buildings are here.

The NSW Department of Services, Technology and Administration has commissioned Evans and Peck to undertake a “peer review” of the Contractor Prequalification and Best Practice Accreditation Scheme for Construction related work 2008-2010. The scheme provides access for NSW Government Agencies to suppliers that have been prequalified to supply construction services. Evans and Peck are currently conducting a “stakeholder engagement process”. More details are here.

The Federal Government has released the terms of reference for a feasibility study of a new multi-billion dollar high speed rail network connecting the cities along Australias east coast, with a particular focus on the Newcastle to Sydney link. Tenders will be called in the coming weeks. The study will conducted in two stages with the first to be completed by July 2011 and second by the middle of 2012. More detail is available here. The Urban Taskforces response is here.