A Bill to modernise the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 has passed through Parliament
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2017 was passed on 23 November 2017. Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said the changes would ensure a simpler, faster planning system, and build community confidence in planning decisions and outcomes.
The government will take a staged approach to rolling out the Bill, giving councils, communities and developers time to prepare for the new requirements.
What are the key changes set out in the Bill?
Changes introduced by the Bill include:
- Enhanced community participation in the planning process.
- Planning tools for communities and councils to shape the future of their local areas.
- Simplified development controls.
- More stringent enforcement of approvals and standards.
- Stronger emphasis on the probity and independence of decision-making.
- Streamlining regulatory controls for State Significant Development.
- Greater transparency and efficiency in the processing of NSW agencies’ approvals.
What do the changes mean for planning authorities?
Planning authorities will have to:
- Prepare and implement community participation plans detailing how they engage with their community.
- Prepare a local strategic planning statement with a 20-year vision for land use, the preservation of special character and values, and the management of future change.
- Publicly exhibit Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) for a minimum of 28 days.
- Check LEPs are fit for purpose at least every 5 years against changes in demographics, infrastructure and strategic plans.
- Give reasons for planning decisions.
- Prepare content in a standard online format for Development Control Plans.
What do the changes mean for developers
In future, you will be:
- Subject to greater scrutiny on the design quality and amenity value of development proposals, including impact on local character and heritage.
- More accountable for the proper construction and maintenance of buildings.
- Required to have a minimum 14-day exhibition period for development applications.
- Liable for the payment of complying development certificates.
- Required to stop work on complying development sites for up to seven days for investigations into construction compliancy.
- Liable for additional fees for retrospective modification applications.
- No longer eligible to sit on Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels.
- No longer able to use transitional arrangements for modification applications for former Part 3A projects.
- Able check the status of referrals to NSW agencies online.
Sources: http://www.urbanalyst.com/in-the-news/new-south-wales/4631-legislative-amendments-to-nsw-planning-system-pass-through-parliament.html http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Under-review-and-new-Policy-and-Legislation/Legislative-Updates-to-the-Environmental-Planning-and-Assessment-Act