Opposition promise on Part 3A

10 December 2010

NSW Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell has responded to Urban Taskforce representations about the timing of any repeal of Part 3A. We urged the Coalition to ensure that it did not seek to repeal Part 3A prior to the completion of its comprehensive review of the planning system.

Mr O’Farrell has now said that: “In relation the period of repeal… [we] will re-write the 30-year old planning legislation and do so by involving the public and other interested parties.”

“A review will be conducted by an independent expert panel, with the aim of enacting legislation by the middle of our first term.”

Mr O’Farrell’s letter to the Urban Taskforce is here.

This is a welcome commitment, and provides some assurance that Part 3A will not be immediately done away with, upon a change of government in March next year.

However, it is important to note that the Opposition has not expressly responded to our request for an assurance that the Major Project SEPP criteria for projects to be given Part 3A status will remain in place until the comprehensive review of the planning laws is complete and implemented. It is therefore possible that Part 3A will remain (for now), transitional arrangements will be put in place for projects already in the system, but new commercial, retail and residential projects will be dealt with under Part 4 (even when they exceed $100 million).

In a related point, last week the NSW Opposition declined to support a private members bill by the Greens to repeal Part 3A.  The Urban Taskforce had strongly urged the Opposition to withhold its support from the Greens bill.

In announcing the Opposition’s position, their planning spokesperson, Mr Brad Hazzard said: “the Liberals and Nationals indicated our preparedness to support [the bill] but asked for some detail as to how it would all work”. Apparently this detail was not forthcoming.

Mr Hazzard accused the Greens of “game-playing” and re-affirmed the Opposition’s commitment “to repealing Part 3A … and a complete overhaul of the planning legislation to give the community an up-front say on strategic planning”.

Mr Hazzard’s statement is available here.