In brief

21 July 2010

Laurie Brown, the chief of staff to the NSW Planning Minister, Tony Kelly, has been “dismissed”, according to an e-mail he has circulated (and which has been reported in the media).

Mr Brown has been the Minister’s chief of staff for around 18 months, and is a veteran of the NSW political scene. He was previously a NSW ALP party official and served as a senior advisor to Bob Carr. The Daily Telegraph has reported that the dismissal took place at the instigation of the Premier’s office. Tony Kelly’s new chief of staff is Stephen Fenn, who has previously worked for the Minister as an advisor, although more recently he has been working in the Land and Property Management Authority.

A NSW Government report card on the processing of development applications by state agencies claims that 90 per cent of decisions are made within 40 days. However, this net period excludes time waiting for more information from applicants. A media release is here. The full report is here.

The Federal Government has released “voluntary” Livable Housing Design guidelines consisting of three levels: Silver, Gold and Platinum and outline the key features required to meet each standard. While these standards have been endorsed by some industry groups, the Urban Taskforce has not signed-off on them. We anticipate that some planning authorities will progressively mandate their use in future development. If any members become aware of any attempt to do this, we would urge them to contact us as a matter of urgency. More detail on the new design guidelines is available here. A government media release on the subject is available here.

Premier Kristina Keneally has announced the details of the new light rail corridor between Lilyfield and Dulwich Hill. The corridor converts the old freight corridor between Lilyfield and Dulwich for light rail use. The government expects work to be complete within two years. Transport NSW has lodged a project application and nine stops have been identified. The Urban Taskforce remains concerned that little is being done to ensure that land use controls are revised around the light rail corridor to reflect the planned new transport infrastructure. The government’s media release is here. More detail is here.

Planning (section 149) certificates issued in the growth centres will now contain additional information thanks to a new regulation. The regulation is available here.

The government is considering requiring the vendors of all real property, including newly built property, to include inspection reports as part of the sale contract. A discussion paper is available here. Submissions close on 1 September 2010. We’re interested in any comments you might have for our submission.

The Land and Property Management Authority has released a fact sheet on the new Torrens Assurance (ad valorem) levy. It is available here.

A draft Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2010 has been released for comment; submissions are due by 4 August 2010. Please let us know if there is anything you think we should raise in a submission. More detail is here.

A draft Valuers Regulation 2010 has been released for comment; submissions are due by 30 July 2010. Please let us know if there is anything you think we should raise in a submission. More detail is here.

The NSW Government introduced new rules to improve the delivery of telecommunications facilities, including new broadband infrastructure. A ministerial media release is here. More details are available from the Department of Planning here.

The NSW government has established a group of senior Ministers to develop a strategic plan for coal mining in NSW by the end of the year. They plan to finalise a co-ordinated strategy from government on coal mining, and give greater certainty to both the mining industry and local communities across the state. A media release on the subject is here.