20 Aug, 2014

Concerns Over Independence Of Planning Reform Process

This morning’s statement by Planning Minister John Rau on council assessment bodies calls into question the independence of the consultation supporting the independent review into planning reform.

City of Adelaidelor David Plumridge, Deputy Chair of Council’s Planning Committee, said it was astonishing that the Minister, who is the ultimate umpire on planning reform, would make comments in the middle of the independent review process that could at the very least taint the process and possibly prejudice the outcomes of the review.

“The City of Adelaide is prepared to engage in planning reform if the Planning Minister is also committed to genuine engagement. But his comments today believe he has already made his mind up on aspects of planning reform, which makes it difficult to believe that the views of the wider community, as part of the consultation process, will be taken into account,” Cr Plumridge said.

“We are supportive of several of the ideas for reform put forward by Brian Hayes QC and the expert panel. However, our views are based on the fundamental principle that the community should have a clear voice in determining the nature and shape of their local areas, and that this is best achieved through local councils having a continuing and fundamental role in the planning system.

“If you take away planning powers from local councils, you take away the community’s ability to have their say on local planning issues. This has always been a key role for councils and must remain so in any new planning system.

“If Minister Rau’s comments this morning are any indication on how he will treat the basic tenet of community consultation on planning reform, then the community should be fearful of how this will translate into consultation on local planning decisions.

“If we can’t trust the fairness of the review process, how can we trust that the community will have a role in the future planning system?

“We suggest the Minister should let the planning reform review run its full course, and hear all sides of the argument, rather than trying to sway the views of the expert panel before they’ve even prepared their report.

“Council stand ready to consider and discuss the merits or otherwise of all of the planning reform ideas put forward by the expert panel as part of the consultation process. We ask Minister Rau to do the same.”

For more information about the planning reforms and to have your say by 26 September, visit: www.thinkdesigndeliver.sa.gov.au

For more information

David Hill