26 September 2023

Communities to have voices on development

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The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) is to crack down on property developers, adopting new rules demanding that communities affected by major projects be involved in planning the project from its early days.

Strategic Executive Director of DPIE, Felicity Greenway said the Social Impact Assessment Guideline would support faster assessment timelines by ensuring communities were engaged upfront.

“We expect developers to involve the community early on in their plans, ensuring impacts on communities from all State-significant projects are given as much consideration as the environmental and economic aspects,” Ms Greenway said.

“Underestimating the social impacts of a project can result in cost blow-outs and cause delays, either in the assessment process or in construction,” she said.

“The Guideline will further enable communities to be involved from the earliest stage of the process.”

Ms Greenway said the updated Guideline would ensure consultation with the community began while a proposal was in development; potentially affected people were aware of plans and had a chance to be involved; the consideration of the livelihood and wellbeing of Aboriginal communities, beyond cultural impacts; and removed the need for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

She said the Guideline was part of a suite of planning reforms to instil more transparency, timeliness and certainty in the planning system.

DPIE’s 35-page Guideline can be accessed at this PS News link.

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