A Community Forum on Planning, organised by the Glebe Society in collaboration with Pyrmont Action and Ultimo Village Voice, was held on May 16. Below is a copy of the resolution that was passed unanimously and which has been delivered to the state government.

The proposed legislation is explained at https://www.glebesociety.org.au/?p=7267 and further discussed at https://www.glebesociety.org.au/?p=7305

Planning Forum Resolution

Objectives: Planning should be democratic and for the whole community and for the future. It should not put economic growth above social and environmental concerns, nor favour developers above other groups as does the White Paper. It should be ecologically sustainable and follow internationally recognised ESD principles.

Community Participation: The Community participation that already exists in the preparation of local plans should be improved and extended to the preparation of statewide policies and regional and subregional plans. The requirements and procedures for Community Participation should be specified in the Planning Act and must be followed for the plan to be valid. Neither the Minister for Planning nor his/her department should have the right to change a plan that has been correctly made, or approve a development that has not been correctly exhibited and assessed.

The Act should guarantee the right of the community to comment on plans at every level, including the development application stage.

Plans: The Act must create a Statewide database to provide the necessary information (evidence) for drawing up plans, and this database must be accessible to everyone. Where necessary, councils and regional planning boards must be provided with assistance to enable them to draw up plans.

Types of Development: Every type of development except those that have no impact, or a very low impact, should have its merits assessed and be advertised for comment by the community.

Environmental and Heritage Protection: Existing environmental and heritage protection should be retained and guaranteed by the Act. This includes all Conservation Areas and Items of Environmental Heritage. The Act should make provision for the inclusion of newly identified Areas and Items. Developments likely to impact on environment or heritage must produce a study of the likely effects. The study must be done at the developer’s expense by a consultant from a panel chosen by the consent authority and with no links to the developer.

Infrastructure: The Act must require a complete assessment of the need for additional infrastructure created by a development proposal. This includes not just service requirements such as roads and drainage, but social requirements such as schools, parks, libraries and community centres, whether provided by the developer or government. The developer’s contribution to infrastructure funding must be deposited as a bond before a development is approved.

Zones: In general, existing zones should be retained, and should only be altered to reflect more accurately the type of development they contain.

Affordable Housing: Simply building more homes does not make them affordable. Federal and State Governments should provide incentives for more affordable housing, and they also have a responsibility to build and maintain public housing and to retain and purchase land for public housing. Public housing and land should not be sold to developers.