The developer-funded New South Wales Labor Government is about to deliver the final chapters in the developer-inspired rewrite of the NSW planning system.

The amendments to the legislation yesterday tabled in Parliament for a three week consultation were written and approved by Cabinet in October last year. With some additional matters, which reflect particular obsessions of the Minister, Frank Sartor, the draft legislation largely reflects the proposals presented in a glossy paper produced by the NSW Property Council in mid 2007.

Once Cabinet had approved the draft legislation, the Minister then went out to consult. He held some stage-managed consultation meetings that cost $50 to attend and at the end of November produced a “consultation” paper. Submissions were called for by the end of the summer holidays. The old developer’s trick of consulting over Christmas.

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Over 500 worthy bodies — councils, professional and community organizations and individuals laboured over Christmas to put in long submissions, many of which opposed important parts of the package of developer friendly reforms. These submissions were summarised in a report published mid-March.

And now, a couple of weeks later, kaboom!, the legislation – with around 150 substantive clauses and hundreds of minor clauses. A vast increase in complexity and Ministerial powers and influence and very little sign of any effect from the submissions received.

Clearly the consultations were just for show as what has come out of the process is much the same as the original Property Council’s proposals that went in.

This is a sham consultation and typical of the sectional interest culture that is the Government of New South Wales.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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