The State Government is proposing changes to the planning system in NSW by updating the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (NSW) 1979

The objectives of the update is to:

  1. Create a simpler, faster, and more inclusive assessment process;
  2. Increase community confidence; and
  3. Create an orderly and balanced architecture for decision making

Western Sydney Community Forum (WSCF) have been invited to participate in upcoming advisory forums in late May 2016. WSCF will attend and represent the interests of its members and communities in Greater Western Sydney.

Key Considerations

Consultation and Engagement  

The NSW Government is aiming to ‘embed best practice community participation’ into the planning system. In relation to developments, developers will need to undertake consultation with the community before they submit their development application. Currently they must consult after they submit their application.

As leaders in engaging and working with local communities, WSCF’s view on this is that best practice community participation involves:

  • Allocating sufficient resources to ensuring that community engagement reaches diverse communities through a wide range of participation tools;
  • Extending opportunities for community consultation throughout all phases of the planning process, including the pre-development applications stage through to community infrastructure and services that receive development contributions; and
  • Introducing an enforceability mechanism in the legislation to ensure that community participation standards are upheld.

Policies Relevant to Local Areas and Local Priorities

The NSW Government will be reviewing all its State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) with a view to have fewer and clearer policies. A number of SEPPs have a direct impact on communities in Greater Western Sydney.

WSCF is paying particular attention to, and will provide feedback on, the impact these changes will have on SEPPs that cover:

  • Affordable Rental Housing;
  • Housing for Seniors and People with a Disability;
  • Western Sydney Employment Area;
  • Regional growth centres, including the South West Growth Areas covering parts of the Liverpool, Camden and Campbelltown local government areas and the North West Growth Areas covering parts of The Hills, Blacktown and Hawkesbury local government areas; and
  • Western Sydney Parklands.

As a regional peak with a strong understanding of the impact SEPPs have on communities in Greater Western Sydney, WSCF’s view is that the aims currently embedded in SEPPs that enable community resilience, health and wellbeing should continue to be upheld. These include:

Affordable Housing

  • Facilitating the effective delivery of new affordable rental housing and the retention of existing affordable rental housing;
  • Facilitating an expanded role for not-for-profit providers of affordable rental housing;

Housing for Seniors and People with a Disability

  • Increase the supply and diversity of residences that meet the needs of seniors or people with a disability;
  • Setting aside local planning controls that would prevent the development of housing for seniors or people with a disability;

Western Sydney Employment Area

  • Promote economic development and the creation of employment in the Western Sydney Employment Area by providing for development;
  • Ensure that development occurs in a logical, environmentally sensitive and cost-effective manner and only after a development control plan has been prepared for the land concerned;

Regional Growth Centres

  • Enable the establishment of vibrant, sustainable and liveable neighbourhoods that provide for community well-being and high quality local amenity;
  • Provide controls for the sustainability of land that has conservation value, to protect the health of waterways and contribute to conservation of biodiversity;

Western Sydney Parklands

  • Allow for a diverse range of recreational, entertainment and tourist facilities and encourage the use of Western Parklands for education and research purposes; and
  • Protect and enhance flora, fauna species and communities and riparian corridors and maintain the rural character of the Western Parkland by allowing sustainable extensive agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

Infrastructure Contributions

A new mechanism to distribute infrastructure contributions is being considered. Infrastructure contributions enable the development of community infrastructure and local facilities where there has been an increase in need as a result of a new development. The new mechanism will consider how this infrastructure can be efficiently funded and delivered in a way that enables and promotes sustainable growth.

In 2010, the mechanism to distribute infrastructure contributions was revised. As a result, a number of measures were introduced including:

  • Removing the ability to use infrastructure contributions to build open space, community services, and emergency services facilities; and
  • Removing the only source of funding for these new services at a local level.

As a regional peak that represents the interests of communities and community organisations in Greater Western Sydney, WSCF’s view is that a new mechanism to distribute infrastructure contributions should enable the development of community facilities including, but not limited to:

  • Community Centres;
  • Libraries;
  • Neighbourhood Centres;
  • Youth Centres;
  • Aged persons facilities;
  • Childcare facilities;
  • Performing arts centres;
  • Sporting fields and structures;
  • Public toilet facilities; and
  • Shade structures.

A mechanism should also be introduced to fund the establishment of local infrastructure and services that enables community capacity building.

Another form of infrastructure contributions is found in the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP. This SEPP allows for the payment of monetary contributions where development either reduces affordable housing or creates a need for it.

WSCF’s view is that Affordable Housing infrastructure contributions should be used to fund a local affordable housing strategy where funds are redistributed at a local level to community housing providers.

For more information on the proposed changes to NSW planning legislation visit: