Our Current Appeal
Right now, you have an opportunity to comment on the future of our planning laws. These are the laws that will shape the way our cities and rural centres are developed, and will define how our precious natural areas, plants and animals are protected in the years to come.
The NSW Government has proposed significant changes to NSW planning legislation. You only have until 31 March 2017 to have your say.
We know that planning laws are complex and reading draft legislation is not for everyone. This is where we can help. We know what good planning laws look like.
That is why we need your help. Our expert planning lawyers are reviewing the proposed changes and will advise the community on what these changes mean for you and your environment. Your tax deductible donation today will help us reach as many people as possible with information on the proposed changes that will decide the way we care for our precious natural areas.
When the NSW Government proposed entirely new planning laws in 2013, EDO NSW was there. With your support we ran workshops, did video presentations and wrote fact sheets so that everyone in the community understood the proposed changes and how they could get involved in the process.
We prepared extensive submissions and increased community knowledge of the proposed new laws. It is vital we continue this important work.
Following the withdrawal of those 2013 proposals, the NSW Government has now decided to amend our existing planning legislation, but we have real concerns. The proposed changes miss the chance to make sure our planning laws create a sustainable future. But we see this as a great opportunity to make our planning laws better.
So, what are the concerning changes?
- Requirements to achieve ecologically sustainable development are being weakened.
- Poor standards for biodiversity protection established by the new biodiversity laws will be adopted.
- The Department of Planning will have the ability to override advice from other expert agencies if approval timeframes aren’t met.
- Putting another nail in the coffin of ‘Part 3A’ - the controversial major projects law that failed on community engagement, transparency, accountability and environmental protection.
- New public participation plans and, in some cases, clearer exhibition periods.
- New local planning panels to improve transparency in decision making.
What the law should do:
- Ensure that protection of our natural environment is at the centre of our planning laws.
- Address climate change and the need for greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
- Require continuous improvement in environmental performance from all major developments.
- Remove limitations to community appeal rights, consistent with ICAC recommendations to reinstate and expand these rights.
We know that getting our laws right before they are passed is the best way to protect our environment and avoid community conflict. Our planning laws need to have integrity and transparency, and require accountable decision making.
Our environment relies on an informed and active community to protect it. As you read this email we are finalising our review of the proposed laws and preparing our workshop materials (read our initial review here or register for our community workshop here) but we need your help.
As your environmental lawyers we want to help you and our broader community have your say about the laws that affect you, your environment and our shared future. We need your help to make sure our community can have a voice in this conversation.
P.S. This is just one of the major reforms to our environmental laws that we expect this year. Please give generously to ensure that we can be there to provide the independent, expert review and advice that you and your environment needs.