NSW PLANNING LAWS CONFUSION January 14, 2010Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
Confusion is to be preferred to corruption, not just in the trivial sense of misconduct, the more serious concern of criminal behavior, or most of all, the corruption of democratic process.
Paul Bibby reports in The Sydney Morning Herald:
A HOST of local rezoning policies across NSW are under a legal cloud because of a legislative error made while the Premier, Kristina Keneally, was planning minister.
The Land and Environment Court ruled yesterday that the rezoning process for a controversial residential development at South Tralee, near Canberra Airport, was invalid because it was conducted under laws which contained a rudimentary numerical error.
. . . The error is contained in amendments to the NSW Planning and Assessment Act introduced as part of Ms Keneally’s push to streamline the planning process in 2008.
Rules about whether the local rezoning policies, called local environment plans, being created when the amendments came into effect should be assessed under the new regime referred to the wrong section of the act. It rendered this section of the act illogical.
The Department of Planning gave Queanbeyan Council permission to proceed with the rezoning process based on these faulty rules and, as a result, this permission was declared invalid.
If numerical errors and illogical directions occur what does that say about the legislative process, and the corrective measures that the Minister is proposing? Without the opportunity to take this matter up with The Land and Environment Court would the error have been discovered?
Environmental planning in NSW appears to give no value to the human right to a healthy environment that satisfies human needs, as distinct from developer’s profits and party political donations, as well as the requirements for ecological sustainability, such as biological diversity. A Charter of Rights, including environmental rights, would have the potential to call into question the assumptions of “development” as well as providing legal redress.
In comments, Planning Sceptic was critical of my failure to do the background research and not to rely on the newspaper report. He points out this case was between well resourced litigants, and not a community action group. Here is the transcript from the Land and Environment Court.The problem is that this material can be read leaving the reader none the wiser.