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                    [post_content] => 

Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAP) are now mandatory for all councils in Greater Sydney and Wollongong after the Bill passed the NSW Parliament.

The NSW Government introduced the Environmental Planning and Assessment and Electoral Legislation Bill, it says, as a safeguard against corruption.

The Bill only passed in its amended version, which means that property developers and real estate agents will not be able to sit on the panels.

Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts welcomed the passing of the legislation in the Legislative Assembly after a late-night sitting in the Upper House passed the Bill.

 “This is a fantastic outcome for ratepayers as IHAP bring transparency, integrity and a high degree of probity to the development application (DA) assessment process.

“These panels, which will consider applications valued at between $5 million and $30 million as well as a range of high-risk development types, will give communities and ratepayers greater certainty about planning decisions.

“Most importantly, local councils will be able to focus on preparing the strategic plans and development controls that will identify the range and location of development types for their local area.”

The Bill sets a standard model for IHAP, comprising three independent expert members and a community member.
  • The community member, to be selected by the council, will represent the geographical area within the LGA of the proposed development, to provide local perspective.
  • IHAP members, who will be chosen by councils from a pool managed by the Department of Planning and Environment, will have to be expert in one or more of the following fields: planning, architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism, or government and public administration.
  • The chairperson must also have expertise in law or government and public administration.
  • The panel members themselves will be subject to statutory rules such as a compulsory code of conduct and operational procedures for the panels.
Local councils will still process most applications for individual houses or alterations to existing houses. Existing independent hearing and assessment panels will continue to operate after the upcoming council elections on 9 September.

At least developers have been excluded: Labor

The NSW Labor Opposition says it has secured vital amendments to the new law, ensuring developers and real estate agents are unable to sit on new planning panels that will determine major development proposals. Labor’s amendments, which it says were unanimously agreed to by the government and the crossbench, ensure that developers, real estate agents, and serving councillors cannot sit on any local planning panel. Decisions will also be made publicly available. They also guarantee that members of the local planning panels will be scrutinised by ICAC, much like MPs and councillors are. Labor has been calling for developers and real estate agents to be banned altogether from sitting on councils. Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Michael Daley said: “It begs the question: if the Government is happy to admit that developers should not sit on local planning panels, why should they be allowed on councils? “Labor calls on the Government to immediately rectify this issue – before September’s council elections.”

The Council is not happy…

Liverpool City Council has expressed its frustration at the decision by the NSW Planning Minister to strip Sydney and Wollongong councils of powers to determine developments over $5 million. “This is a naked power grab by the NSW Government – taking the decision-making authority to shape how our communities grow and develop away from elected representatives,” Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller said. Mayor Waller said Liverpool was one of the first of 15 councils in the Sydney basin to establish an IHAP. Council has used this independent expert advice to improve decision-making on major planning proposals for 20 years. “We have long understood the importance of independent assessment when it comes to planning, but Council always had the option to bring matters of significant public interest back into the hands of elected representatives,” Mayor Waller said. “We had the checks and balances in place and they were working well. “The only thing this power grab by the State Government achieves is that it takes decisions further away from the community at the very time when Liverpool is growing fast and residents need to have a stake in this rapid expansion.

… but developers are

The announcement by the NSW Government that independent planning panels will determine all development applications with a value of between more than $5 million but less than $30 million in value in Sydney and Wollongong will streamline planning in metropolitan Sydney, said the developers’ union the Urban Taskforce. “The announcement that all local councils in Sydney and Wollongong must establish independent planning panels will make the planning process much more efficient,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson “The role of the elected councillors is in setting the strategic planning framework and the assessment of compliance with the framework is best undertaken by experts in the field.” “The Urban Taskforce agrees with the Minister that mandating the Independent Planning and Assessment Panels (IHAP) will ensure a level playing field for everyone. Having a central pool of experts will also ensure effective use of resources and that all panel members have up to date knowledge of the planning rules.” “The quality of panel members will be important to ensure they are assessing against the rules rather than becoming arbitrators trying to balance community concerns with the viability of the applicant’s proposal. Panel members must be supportive of growth that complies with the strategic plans approved by council or the state government. Having one member of the 4-person panel from the local area ensures an understanding of local issues.” [post_title] => Councils lose development control [post_excerpt] => IHAP are now mandatory for all councils in Greater Sydney and Wollongong. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => councils-lose-development-control [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 12:55:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 02:55:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27800 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27804 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-10 09:12:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-09 23:12:50 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27806" align="alignnone" width="300"] Photo courtesy of SBS.[/caption] Cristy Clark, Southern Cross University The New South Wales state government has passed legislation empowering police to dismantle the Martin Place homeless camp in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. This follows similar actions in Victoria, where police cleared a homeless camp outside Flinders Street Station. Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle proposed a bylaw to ban rough sleeping in the city. In March, the UN special rapporteur on the right to housing, Leilani Farha, censured the City of Melbourne’s actions, stating that:
"… the criminalisation of homelessness is deeply concerning and violates international human rights law."
As the special rapporteur highlighted, homelessness is already “a gross violation of the right to adequate housing”. To further discriminate against people rendered homeless by systemic injustice is prohibited under international human rights law.
Further reading: Ban on sleeping rough does nothing to fix the problems of homelessness

Real problem is lack of affordable housing

In contrast to her Melbourne counterpart, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore had been adopting a more human-rights-based approach to resolving the challenges presented by the Martin Place camp. After negotiating with camp organisers, Moore made it clear her council would not disperse the camp until permanent housing was found for all of the residents. As she pointed out:
"You can’t solve homelessness without housing — what we urgently need is more affordable housing and we urgently need the New South Wales government to step up and do their bit."
It’s no secret that housing affordability in both Sydney and Melbourne has reached crisis point. And homelessness is an inevitable consequence of this. But we have seen little real action from government to resolve these issues. The NSW government has been offering people temporary crisis accommodation or accommodation on the outskirts of the city. This leaves them isolated from community and without access to services. In contrast, these inner-city camps don’t just provide shelter, food, safety and community; they also send a powerful political message to government that it must act to resolve the housing affordability crisis. Having established well-defined rules of conduct, a pool of shared resources and access to free shelter and food, the Martin Place camp can be seen as part of the commons movement. This movement seeks to create alternative models of social organisation to challenge the prevailing market-centric approaches imposed by neoliberalism and to reclaim the Right to the City.
Further reading: Suburbanising the centre: the government’s anti-urban agenda for Sydney

We should be uncomfortable

It is not surprising that right-wing pundits have described these camps as “eyesores” or that they make NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian “completely uncomfortable”. The breach of human rights these camps represent, and the challenge they pose to the current system, should make people uncomfortable. Unlike most comparable nations, Australia has very limited legal protections for human rights. In this context, actions like the Martin Place and Flinders Street camps are one of the few options available to victims of systemic injustice to exercise their democratic right to hold government to account. In seeking to sweep this issue under the carpet, both the City of Melbourne and the NSW government are not only further breaching the right to adequate housing, they are also trying to silence political protest. It is clear from Moore’s demands, and the NSW government’s own actions, that the Martin Place camp is working to create pressure for action. What will motivate the government to resolve this crisis once the camps have been dispersed? As Nelson Mandela argued in 1991 at the ANC’s Bill of Rights Conference:
"A simple vote, without food, shelter and health care, is to use first-generation rights as a smokescreen to obscure the deep underlying forces which dehumanise people. It is to create an appearance of equality and justice, while by implication socioeconomic inequality is entrenched. "We do not want freedom without bread, nor do we want bread without freedom. We must provide for all the fundamental rights and freedoms associated with a democratic society."
Mandela’s words were hugely relevant to apartheid South Africa, where a ruling elite had established a deeply racist and unjust system that linked political disenfranchisement and material deprivation. But they also resonate today in Australia where inequality is on the rise – driven in large part by disparities in property ownership. The ConversationHomelessness is a deeply dehumanising force that strips people of access to fundamental rights. The policies that are creating this crisis must be seen as unacceptable breaches of human rights. We need to start asking whether our current economic system is compatible with a truly democratic society. Cristy Clark, Lecturer in Law, Southern Cross University This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Clearing homeless camps will make the problem worse [post_excerpt] => "You can’t solve homelessness without housing." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => clearing-homeless-camps-will-make-problem-worse [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 12:22:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 02:22:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27804 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27561 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-06 20:33:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-06 10:33:29 [post_content] => The NSW Government has declared the first section of the ‘WestConnex New M4’ ready and open to traffic, but the organisation of Western Sydney councils WSROC is doubtful motorists will get their money’s worth when the toll charges begin on 15 August. The opening gambit For the first time, drivers can now enjoy four lanes in each direction with new access points and smoother road surfaces on the widened section of the New M4, between Parramatta and Homebush, the government said. Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres thanked people for their patience during construction of this first section of WestConnex that, he said, will deliver faster, safer and more reliable trips for Western Sydney motorists. “In just over two years, we’ve delivered the first stage of this once-in-a-generation game changing infrastructure which Western Sydney has been crying out for,” Mr Ayres said. “Crews are continuing to work around the clock and all lanes are now open. “The first section of the New M4 project has been a massive undertaking with 4.3 million people hours worked, more than 40,000 cubic metres of concrete poured and 50,000 tonnes of asphalt laid. “We’ve made great progress but there’s plenty more to do with our ‘New M4’ tunnels now more than halfway complete, over one kilometre of the ‘New M5’ tunnels excavated and the M4-M5 Link scheduled to start next year. “This project is driving an economic boom across Western Sydney with the first stage of the New M4 alone supporting 2,000 direct and indirect jobs throughout construction and more than 1,600 businesses signing contracts exceeding $1.6 billion.” A distance-based toll of between $1.77 and $4.56 will be implemented on the widened section of the M4 between Parramatta and Homebush from 15 August 2017. “Tell us what you think about the M4 toll”: WSROC WSROC will monitor the performance of the widened M4 over the coming month to ensure commuters feel they will get value for money from the $4.56 toll. WSROC president Cr Bali said: “Both the Australian and NSW Governments have promised Western Sydney commuters significant time savings from WestConnex, and as paying customers we expect to see results. “Premier Berejiklian has promised that the benefits of the widened M4 will outweigh the cost of using it. I sincerely hope so, but will be relying on user feedback to determine whether this is the case,” he said. “I encourage all M4 users to share their experience of the widened upgrade with WSROC by sending their complaints or compliments to M4toll@wsroc.com.au. “Alternatively, commuters can tweet #M4toll or post to the M4toll Facebook page,” he said. “Driver feedback will contribute significantly to WSROC’s assessment of the M4 to see if actual travel time savings are achieved. If not, WSROC will be making strong representations to the NSW Government,” said Cr Bali. “We understand the necessity of tolls for funding public infrastructure, but do not believe road users should pay before they benefit. WSROC believes that east-bound travel will not be improved at all until the next section of the M4 East is opened in 2019, and therefore city-bound road users should not be paying any tolls until then.  “$4.56 is a significant amount, particularly when you compound this with other tolls paid by long distance commuters across the motorway network,” he said.   [post_title] => ‘New M4’ is ready – but what will you get for your money? [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government has declared ‘WestConnex New M4’ ready and open to traffic. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-m4-ready-will-get-money [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-06 20:39:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-06 10:39:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27561 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 3 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27800 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-10 17:23:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-10 07:23:52 [post_content] => Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAP) are now mandatory for all councils in Greater Sydney and Wollongong after the Bill passed the NSW Parliament. The NSW Government introduced the Environmental Planning and Assessment and Electoral Legislation Bill, it says, as a safeguard against corruption. The Bill only passed in its amended version, which means that property developers and real estate agents will not be able to sit on the panels. Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts welcomed the passing of the legislation in the Legislative Assembly after a late-night sitting in the Upper House passed the Bill.  “This is a fantastic outcome for ratepayers as IHAP bring transparency, integrity and a high degree of probity to the development application (DA) assessment process. “These panels, which will consider applications valued at between $5 million and $30 million as well as a range of high-risk development types, will give communities and ratepayers greater certainty about planning decisions. “Most importantly, local councils will be able to focus on preparing the strategic plans and development controls that will identify the range and location of development types for their local area.” The Bill sets a standard model for IHAP, comprising three independent expert members and a community member.
  • The community member, to be selected by the council, will represent the geographical area within the LGA of the proposed development, to provide local perspective.
  • IHAP members, who will be chosen by councils from a pool managed by the Department of Planning and Environment, will have to be expert in one or more of the following fields: planning, architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism, or government and public administration.
  • The chairperson must also have expertise in law or government and public administration.
  • The panel members themselves will be subject to statutory rules such as a compulsory code of conduct and operational procedures for the panels.
Local councils will still process most applications for individual houses or alterations to existing houses. Existing independent hearing and assessment panels will continue to operate after the upcoming council elections on 9 September.

At least developers have been excluded: Labor

The NSW Labor Opposition says it has secured vital amendments to the new law, ensuring developers and real estate agents are unable to sit on new planning panels that will determine major development proposals. Labor’s amendments, which it says were unanimously agreed to by the government and the crossbench, ensure that developers, real estate agents, and serving councillors cannot sit on any local planning panel. Decisions will also be made publicly available. They also guarantee that members of the local planning panels will be scrutinised by ICAC, much like MPs and councillors are. Labor has been calling for developers and real estate agents to be banned altogether from sitting on councils. Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Michael Daley said: “It begs the question: if the Government is happy to admit that developers should not sit on local planning panels, why should they be allowed on councils? “Labor calls on the Government to immediately rectify this issue – before September’s council elections.”

The Council is not happy…

Liverpool City Council has expressed its frustration at the decision by the NSW Planning Minister to strip Sydney and Wollongong councils of powers to determine developments over $5 million. “This is a naked power grab by the NSW Government – taking the decision-making authority to shape how our communities grow and develop away from elected representatives,” Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller said. Mayor Waller said Liverpool was one of the first of 15 councils in the Sydney basin to establish an IHAP. Council has used this independent expert advice to improve decision-making on major planning proposals for 20 years. “We have long understood the importance of independent assessment when it comes to planning, but Council always had the option to bring matters of significant public interest back into the hands of elected representatives,” Mayor Waller said. “We had the checks and balances in place and they were working well. “The only thing this power grab by the State Government achieves is that it takes decisions further away from the community at the very time when Liverpool is growing fast and residents need to have a stake in this rapid expansion.

… but developers are

The announcement by the NSW Government that independent planning panels will determine all development applications with a value of between more than $5 million but less than $30 million in value in Sydney and Wollongong will streamline planning in metropolitan Sydney, said the developers’ union the Urban Taskforce. “The announcement that all local councils in Sydney and Wollongong must establish independent planning panels will make the planning process much more efficient,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson “The role of the elected councillors is in setting the strategic planning framework and the assessment of compliance with the framework is best undertaken by experts in the field.” “The Urban Taskforce agrees with the Minister that mandating the Independent Planning and Assessment Panels (IHAP) will ensure a level playing field for everyone. Having a central pool of experts will also ensure effective use of resources and that all panel members have up to date knowledge of the planning rules.” “The quality of panel members will be important to ensure they are assessing against the rules rather than becoming arbitrators trying to balance community concerns with the viability of the applicant’s proposal. Panel members must be supportive of growth that complies with the strategic plans approved by council or the state government. Having one member of the 4-person panel from the local area ensures an understanding of local issues.” [post_title] => Councils lose development control [post_excerpt] => IHAP are now mandatory for all councils in Greater Sydney and Wollongong. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => councils-lose-development-control [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 12:55:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 02:55:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27800 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 3 [max_num_pages] => 1 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => df4ef72e5341ded714658050bfc3cbcb [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

NSW-Govenment