Date of this Version
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and the Land and Environment Court Act 1979, comprise a legislative duo providing statutory control over the use of public and private property in the most populous state of Australia, New South Wales (NSW). Statutory planning in NSW arguably commenced in 1951 with the Cumberland Planning Scheme Ordinance which was in turn based upon pre-war English town and country planning, and is generally regarded as the foundation for much Australian planning.
Since 1979 the NSW planning regime has matured into a complex exclusory zoning system, which has been further developed through case law to the point where it may be considered the poster child for statutory land use planning in Australia. However, a new planning regime is now evolving in NSW which is intended to be less prescriptive and more adaptive to the growing population demands of the state.
In this critique, it is argued that the well tested 1979 regime ought not to have been completely replaced with the proposed legislation which reduces community standing when consent authorities consider applications for development approval including major projects. It is argued in this paper that public participation in the evolving statutory planning regime ought not to have been reduced merely to produce questionable improvements in timeframes to gain development approval.
This document has been peer reviewed.