In brief

24 August 2011

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure has provided us with a draft of a paper: Planning Principles for Industrial Lands to comment upon. The Government says that the purpose of the paper is to provide guidance for local councils on planning to ensure that stocks of industrial land are available to meet current and future demand across Sydney. The paper includes checklists that may be used to identify strategically significant industrial lands and to assess proposals to rezone existing industrial land to permit other land uses. Comments on the paper will be received by the Department until 26 September and can be accessed from here.  Please contact us with any comments or concerns.


In a previous member alert (10-08-11) we advised that the NSW Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, had announced a review of the Standard Instrument and that this review was to be carried out by a “Local Planning Panel” which will have an “independent” chair approved by both the Local Government and Shires Association and the Department of Planning and Infrastructure. The Director General of the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, Sam Haddad, has written to all councils confirming that this review is to occur and advising that nominations to the panel have been requested. Regretfully it seems that the panel is to be composed exclusively of local government and departmental representatives. Our concern is that land use regulators are well represented, but there is no-one on the panel who can appreciate the concerns of those of us being regulated. We have raised this with Mr Hazzard and will pursue this issue. The Director General’s letter is here.


In previous member alerts we advised that the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure had delegated some of his decision making powers to either the Department of Planning and Infrastructure or the Planning Assessment Commission. More detail on these delegations is now available on the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure website. In summary, the Department has delegation to make decisions on major project applications, development applications and modifications, where there is less than 25 objections and local council support; gateway decisions and approvals or refusals of LEPs. The Planning Assessment Commission has a delegation to make decisions on major project applications and modifications submitted by a private proponent, where there have been 25 or more objections; or the local council has objected; or there has been a reportable political donation. More information is here.

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has released proposed amendments to the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 1997 and the Telecommunications Regulations 2001 for public comment until 7 September 2011. The Government says that the proposed amendments enable NBN Co and operators of comparable broadband networks to utilise Commonwealth regulation rather than State and Territory planning laws to connect premises; locate equipment in multi-unit buildings; and deploy new broadband infrastructure in streets. The draft instruments and explanatory material can be accessed from here.


The NABERS rating scale is being extended from 5 to 6 stars. NABERS is a national program, administered by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to rate the environmental performance of buildings. It includes tools for energy, water, waste and indoor environment. The Government says that the extra star acknowledges that the Australian property industry is reaching a standard previously considered beyond world’s best practice. A fact sheet on the extension of NABERS is here and a more technical fact sheet is here. General information of the extension of the rate system is here.