Planning laws

Will the Real Mr Hazzard Please Stand Up

NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has done a complete about-face in his approach to planning issues from opposition to government.

Better Planning Network’s Corinne Fisher said that Mr Hazzard argued in Parliament in 1997 that residents should have an “ongoing say such that they can approve or not approve of a particular development on their very boundary” but now intends to deny ordinary people that right.

“We have been saying for some time that the NSW Government’s planning White Paper and Draft Legislation is a cynical betrayal of every promise made to the community,” Ms Fisher said. “Now it is clear with the discovery of this speech that Mr Hazzard has also betrayed his own principles.”

Ms Fisher said Mr Hazzard made the remarks about the importance of community participation while he was in Opposition during a debate on planning reforms proposed by the Carr Government.

“Now that he is in a position to implement the principles he trumpeted in 1997 he has turned his back on the people,” Ms Fisher said.

“What happened to change his views so thoroughly? What has changed in the intervening years to justify Mr Hazzard’s decision to reduce people’s rights to have an ongoing say such that they can approve or not approve of a particular development on their very boundary?’ Ms Fisher asked.

“Mr Hazzard’s ‘ideal’ planning system will only give people a say over what happens in their neighbourhood at the very early stages – at the strategic planning stage – while 80 per cent of developments will be assessed without neighbours even being told what’s proposed,” Ms Fisher said.

“Now that he is in power, voters have a right to question Mr Hazzard’s backflip on this issue. How can the community place their trust in this man who, in opposition seemed to be inspired by principles of participatory decision making, and now gives us a system that cuts out the community in favour of developers?”

For more information contact: Corinne Fisher 0421 831 889 24 June 2013

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