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Wednesday, 19 December 2018

The NSW Department of Planning has accepted all 19 of the recommendations of a comprehensive review of the NSW planning system, undertaken by former NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas.

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said the Review was commissioned by the Department of Planning to assess the integrity of decision-making and governance across the planning system following the introduction of major reforms in recent years.

“We’ve introduced significant reforms in the last few years – introducing Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAPS), strengthening the role of the Independent Planning Commission and driving the biggest overhaul to planning legislation in decades.

“The time was right to pause and get an independent review – a health check - of how effectively these reforms are delivering greater transparency and efficiency in the planning system and what improvements can be made,” he said.

Mr Roberts said the Review had delivered 19 recommendations, including the creation of a new Ethics Unit, mandatory probity checks for all IHAP members, including community representatives and an audit of infrastructure contributions.

Since August, Mr Kaldas has spoken to a wide range of stakeholders. He has investigated national and global best practice to identify governance issues and considered issues, which might risk the integrity of the NSW planning system.

“This review confirms the positive impact of the reforms we’ve introduced and welcomes effort by the Department of Planning and Environment to improve the culture within the planning system, particularly when it comes to communication and collaboration,” Mr Roberts said.

“Identifying the positive impact of IHAPs in Greater Sydney and Wollongong, the review recommends extending IHAPs to the Central Coast and Newcastle, together with greater probity, review and guidance for IHAP members and stakeholders.

Mr Kaldas also recommended the establishment of an Ethics Unit to provide a new resource for all decision makers in the planning system, reporting directly to the Secretary of the Department.

He has also recommended an audit to improve decision making around the collection and monitoring of infrastructure contributions, and more consistency, transparency and accountability around councils’ Voluntary Planning Agreements.

Mr Roberts said Mr Kaldas noted the positive effects of broad ranging transparency and anti-corruption reforms to the NSW planning system over the past seven years.

“The improvements will continue through the implementation of the Kaldas review and I am pleased to say the Government has accepted all the recommendations in the report.

“I want to thank Mr Kaldas for his significant efforts over the last four months in the preparation of this Review which backs our reforms and sets the NSW planning system on an even stronger and more transparent course for the future,” he said.

For the full Report visit:

Media: Norm Lipson 0429 081 428