More on NSW Opposition policies

29 November 2010

Part 3A direction clearer

The NSW Oppositions shadow planning minister, Brad Hazzard, has committed himself to the repeal of Part 3A as soon as is humanly possible, with the proviso that there would be transitional arrangements to deal with applications already in the system. More detail is here.

If there was any doubt about the types of projects that will be handed over to local councils it has now been cleared that up. The NSW Leader of the Opposition, Barry OFarrell, told a Penrith newspaper that a Coalition government would let local councils decide large developments and nominated Parkviews proposed mixed use development in Penrith as an example of a project that should be decided locally.

The proposed project has a capital investment value of $185 million and will generate some 600 equivalent full time operational and construction jobs. The proposal relates to a 7.9 hectare area commonly known as the ˜Panasonic site. The proposed development includes approximately 650 dwellings and 11,600 square metres of retail space (more detail here).

“This is a local development which goes against a concept plan [stage 1 development consent] by Penrith Council, Mr OFarrell said.

“Youve got your local council, but youve also got a state government which claims it knows best.”

Last year, the council supported a Parkview plan for a complex on Station Street, Penrith, comprising a mix of residential, some retail and 20,000 square metres of office space. However, Parkview has since approached the Planning Minister, Tony Kelly, with a revised proposal with no commercial office space and greater retail space.

Mr OFarrell said that such planning powers should be in the hands of local government.

Mr OFarrells comments are reported here.

SEPPs to come under scrutiny

The NSW Opposition has promised to run the ruler over state environmental planning polices as part of its review of planning legislation, should it be elected to government in March next year.

Shadow Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard has told State Parliament that the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act will be completely reviewed if the Coalition is elected to government.

We will be looking at the various State planning policies that currently sit below the Act as part of that review, Mr Hazzard said.

“I am concerned”and it is exemplified [by the Affordable Housing SEPP] ”that State environmental planning policies are no longer subject to public scrutiny.

There was a time when the State Labor Government ensured that State environment planning policies were subject to public consultation, scrutiny and input, but that stopped some years ago.

The net result is that the Government now makes planning decisions in camera. It is then left to residents, … to express concern about what is clearly inappropriate development.

A transcript of Mr Hazzards comments is available here.

Local development levies

The NSW Opposition have announced that their review of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act will include a review of local development section 94 levies.

At a meeting of Blacktown Council earlier this month, councillors unanimously agreed to send a letter to the State Government threatening to make flyers and put signs on new release areas, stating the council wouldnt be able to provide facilities such as sporting fields and community centres, for new development sites subject to the cap. Apparently, the heated meeting also prompted councillors to ask whether or not the Liberal Party would scrap the cap.

When asked by the Blacktown Advocate, Mr Hazzard said: We have announced a complete review of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and as part of that there will be a review of section 94 levies.

The fundamental difference under a Coalition Government is that we believe there should not be a one-size-fits-all approach to planning, which is what has happened under Labor. We need to go to each community and find out what they need.

A local media report carrying the commitment is here.

No compensation for buyer of the Ku-ring-gai site?

The NSW Leader of the Opposition, Barry OFarrell, has introduced a private members bill into Parliament prevent the Ku-ring-gai campus of the University of Technology, Sydney at Lindfield from being used for anything but educational purposes.

Mr OFarrell said that the need the special legislation is a is a no brainer.

A Part 3A application exists that would see the University of Technology Ku-ring-gai campus site used not for educational purposes but used for residential development, Mr OFarrell said.

The law revokes a previous planning approval given in June 2008 for non-educational development and prevents any future planning approval from being granted other than the purpose of educational facilities.

The law also enables the state government to compulsorily acquire the Ku-ring-gai Campus. The bill says that the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 willnot apply in respect of such an acquisition.

Mr OFarrell introduced the bill on 22 October 2010, one day after tenders closed on the sale of 13.9 hectares of the site by Savills Australia on behalf of the University of Technology, Sydney.

More information about Mr OFarrells bill is here.

More information on the sales process is here.