The State’s Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has been set new accountability benchmarks to ensure greater timeliness and transparency in decision-making, as part of the roll-out of reforms recommended by the NSW Productivity Commission.
Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes has issued his Statement of Expectations to the IPC that outlines the timeframes and process for planning decisions and advice to be issued.
“The recommendations from the Productivity Commission’s review reinforced the importance of independent decision-making in upholding the integrity of the NSW planning system,” Mr Stokes said.
“Everyone benefits when we have clear and transparent benchmarks: the IPC knows what is expected of them in making a decision on a project; the community knows what role they have to play; and proponents know how and when their project will be determined.”
Once a planning assessment is completed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and referred to the IPC, the Commission will be expected to provide:
· a determination within five weeks for projects that do not require a public meeting or public hearing;
· a determination within eight weeks for projects subject to a public meeting;
· a determination within 12 weeks for projects subject to a public hearing; and
· advice to the Planning Secretary within five weeks for gateway and rezoning reviews.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has also been signed between the Department and the IPC to eliminate duplication of roles in the assessment process, and align with the Minister’s Statement of Expectations. The MoU includes probity commitments to maintain independence, guidelines for the provision of additional information required in determinations and clarity on the implementation of policy guidelines.
“We want the Department and IPC to work cooperatively and effectively to ensure the State’s most contentious projects are determined as quickly as possible, providing certainty for both the community and proponents,” Mr Stokes said.