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Client Update: NSW Planning Bill 2013 – Amended Bill stalls in Parliament

28 November 2013

In brief: Partner Paul Lalich and Senior Associate Trent March have been monitoring the progress of the Planning Bill 2013 through Parliament and report that the NSW Government has today deferred the debate until early March 2014.

The NSW Planning Bill 2013

The Bill was introduced into Parliament on 22 October 2013. After being formally read it passed to the Upper House where it was the subject of intense debate, with over eighty amendments proposed.

A coalition of the Opposition, Greens and Shooters and Fishers Party have forced through a number of key amendments which strike at the heart of the new planning framework proposed under the Bill.

  • Code Assessable Development – The Upper House voted to remove this category of development from the Planning Bill. Code Assessable Development was a major component of the Government's planning reforms (with the White Paper originally indicating 80 per cent of all development would be code assessable within five years).
  • Mining projects – The Upper House voted to repeal recent Government amendments to State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) Act 2007 that require consent authorities to consider the economic significance of a mineral resource when determining a development application to mine that resource. The repeal will not take effect until the Planning Bill is passed into law.
  • Planning proposals – The Upper House amended the Bill to require a 28-day exhibition period for planning proposals unless the planning proposal is of a minor nature. The Bill initially gave the Minister the power to reduce the period of public exhibition when making a gateway determination with respect to a planning proposal.
  • Affordable Housing Contributions – The Upper House included a number of provisions allowing consent authorities to impose Affordable Housing Contributions on developments.

A range of other amendments, including the re-introduction of the concept of ecologically sustainable development and the expansion of appeal rights for objectors to development applications, were moved by the Opposition and the Greens but, ultimately, not passed.

On the reintroduction of the amended Bill to the Lower House today, Planning Minister Brad Hazzard informed Parliament that, given the significance of the amendments, the Government has decided to defer the final debate and vote on the amended Bill until Parliament resumes in March next year.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the Bill and provide updates on any substantial amendments and upon its passage into law.

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