The new planning system and the environment
The review of the New South Wales planning system presents an opportunity to develop a modern planning system that is consistent with contemporary community expectations. We welcome the government’s action in initiating the review and note the significant loss of community confidence in the current system.
Our planning system can play an important role in helping us to address many of our most pressing environmental challenges, including:
- loss and fragmentation of native vegetation and wildlife habitat,
- conversion and loss of strategic agricultural land,
- degradation of rivers, wetlands and water catchments,
- urban sprawl, traffic congestion, air pollution and waste, and
- carbon pollution and impacts of climate change.
This report recognises the intrinsic link between environment protection and planning; the benefits of using modern technology to facilitate the sharing of environmental data and to support objective decision making methodologies; and the benefits of public participation and the expectation of the community to be involved in decisions that affect the environment in which they live.
The findings and recommendations of this report highlight new opportunities for a modern planning system that integrates the environment and community in planning for a sustainable future. It does not accept that the only measure of an effective and credible system is how fast a development receives consent. Rather the quality of the data, assessment and community participation are the hallmarks of a best practice decision making process.
The report calls on the NSW Government to demonstrate leadership by delivering a planning system that maintains or improves environmental outcomes and supports innovative and effective community engagement processes.