26 September 2023

Planning benchmarks hit new high

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The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces has set new accountability benchmarks for the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) to ensure greater timeliness and transparency in decision-making.

The Minister, Rob Stokes said the new benchmarks were part of reforms recommended by the NSW Productivity Commission and issued a Statement of Expectations to the IPC outlining 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,” he said.

Mr Stoke said that once a planning assessment was completed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) and referred to the IPC, the Commission would be expected to provide a determination within five weeks for projects that didn’t require a public meeting or public hearing.

He said the IPC would also be expected to provide 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.

“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,” he said.

Mr Stokes said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had also been signed between DPIE and the IPC to eliminate the duplication of roles in the assessment process, and align with the Statement of Expectations.

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