Parliaments across New South Wales are calling on the Labor government to abandon a “secret” planning process that allows developers to propose large housing projects.
- The former New South Wales government launched a pilot program to allow developers to bypass the normal parliamentary rezoning process for certain projects.
- In some areas, congressional officials were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements to provide technical information about proposals.
- Several legislatures are calling on the new state government to withdraw the plan.
In December, the state government opened a pilot State-Evaluated Planning Proposal Pathway.
It encouraged developers to apply directly to the Ministry of Planning and Environment for rezoning land plots for projects capable of providing over 1,000 housing units in urban areas and over 300 units in rural areas.
Developers had until January 22 to submit an application to the government.
Wollondilly Shire Mayor Matt Gould said he had serious concerns about the new corridor.
“It’s a covert process with no transparency and no certainty as to what the outcome will be,” he said.
The guidelines for this process state that “if an expert wishes to view project information and provide an opinion, they must sign a conflict of interest and confidentiality agreement,” and outlines strict fairness measures. there is
“Some of our staff had to sign non-disclosure agreements to get involved,” Gould said.
“I don’t know more, because I am not allowed to know more.”
Wollondilly City Council believes developers have put forward four to six potential sites in the state.
“It’s strictly confidential.” [agreement that the staff] It doesn’t tell you which village, how many parcels, or even the impact,” Gould said.
“It’s incredibly frustrating.”
Lack of existing infrastructure
The state is already ready for a major housing development under the government’s Grand MacArthur Plan, with 18,000 units in Wilton and 16,000 units in the recently booming area near Appin. is planned.
Gould said Wallondilly has met its housing goals and further development would only increase the burden of unmet infrastructure.
“While Wilton has a $500 million shortfall in state and local infrastructure, Appin believes it could exceed $1 billion in critical infrastructure,” he said.
“Without the basic infrastructure to support it, we can’t keep packing housing on the fringes of Greater Sydney.”
He called on the New South Wales government to “abandon” the process.
In neighboring Southern Highlands’ Windekaribee Shire, the city council said it had been informed of four new land development sites, but “no details were provided.”
The council is under control and none of its staff are required to sign confidentiality agreements to provide technical details.
In February, the city council adopted a motion against “land readjustment outside the community housing strategy.”
Judy Hannan, the new independent Wollondilly MP who remains on the Wollondilly City Council, was also concerned about the channel.
“The local residents who live there have no say because these rezoning are being done without stakeholder donations,” she said.
She said she hoped the zoning route would be “on hold” and that she hoped the state’s planning system would be “turned over” soon.
Pressure to seek advice in just ’24 hours’
Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry said the city council has sent a letter to the former government asking them to back out of the process and has already held similar conversations with new minister Paul Sculley.
“We have asked, and continue to ask, to stop this process because it is undemocratic, non-transparent and we do not want to plan for the future.” said Cherry.
The city council believed two or three projects were being targeted in the state.
Cherry said staff members were also asked to sign non-disclosure agreements and provide advice in “ridiculous time frames.”
“Staff were expected to provide professional advice regarding these specific locations and were given 24 hours to provide that advice,” she said.
“It’s a lot [they] I’d have to look into it, but it doesn’t give me quality advice as to whether the proposal might go ahead. ”
She said the situation as it recovers from devastating Northern Rivers flooding puts additional pressure on the state and is not aligned with its strategic plan.
“There is a lot of land that is rezoned but not on the market. State governments need to give them the means to market the land, not just blindly rezoning it.” she said.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Planning and Environment said it plans to announce which candidate projects are eligible to be submitted as planning proposals in the coming weeks.
“Applicants and the council will be notified in writing before the results are made public,” they said.
“When these planning proposals are submitted, they will face the same rigorous evaluation requirements as usual, including consultation with Congress and the community.”
Planning and Public Affairs Minister Paul Sculley said in a statement that the government plans to review the plan.
“We are taking a hard look at the efficiency of our planning system to identify ways to provide more housing,” he said.
“This is a pilot program introduced by the previous administration and is subject to review and evaluation.”
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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-06-13/councils-condemn-housing-development-rezoning-nsw/102469134 New South Wales government faces calls to abandon ‘secret’ rezoning pathways for housing development