Changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) will focus on community participation, strategic planning and clear decision making.
The changes will focus on enhancing community participation by requiring planning authorities to prepare and implement plans that detail how they engage with their community.
These plans include mandatory minimum periods such as a 14-day exhibition period for Development Applications, unless the Community Participation Plan says otherwise.
For Local Environmental Plans (LEP’s) the minimum exhibition period is 28 days. Authorities will be encouraged to go beyond the minimum requirements, to ensure the consultation suits the community’s needs.
The changes strengthen councils’ focus on strategic planning and will recognise their role in strategic planning for the local area through their preparation of new local strategic planning statements.
Other changes to the EP&A Act include:
- modernising and expanding the objects of the Act
- strengthening and streamlining local development processes
- strengthening compliance by introducing enforceable undertakings
- requiring councils to do an LEP check at least every five years
- strengthening the rules for regional planning panels in line with the local IHAPs
- closing off the transitional arrangements for former Part 3A projects.
Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts said the changes reflect the government’s commitment to thriving, safe and well-designed communities with local character and heritage.
“There is no denying that NSW is a great place to live and work, however, the best places do not just happen, they are planned, and planning for the future of our state is critical,” Mr Roberts said.