New South Wales

NSW Parliament approves fast-tracking of small development appeals

THE NSW Parliament yesterday passed the Planning Appeals Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 that will create a fast-tracked appeal system for applications for single dwellings and dual occupancies. It will also result in changes to the systems for internal council reviews and costs orders.

The government expects the new scheme would cut decision times by half and substantially reduce legal costs. The Land and Environment Court will introduce a benchmark to accompany the new scheme aimed at resolving 95 per cent of appeals within three months.

"This will help mums and dads get a quicker and less expensive decision in the Land and Environment Court if the council knocks back their plans for the family home or does not make a decision within a statutory timeframe," Planning Minister Tony Kelly said.

Mr Kelly said that approximately a quarter of appeals to the Court relate to new single houses or additions.

"Considering 60 per cent of all development applications are for these types of applications, the new scheme provides great potential to make it easier for NSW homeowners to access the court system".

The new conciliation-arbitration scheme will apply to merit reviews in the Land and Environment Court for disputes between councils and homeowners over development applications and modification applications for detached single dwellings and dual occupancies (including subdivision) and alterations and additions to single dwellings and dual occupancies.

Under the scheme, a Commissioner of the Court will conduct conciliation, and if no agreement can be reached, the Commissioner will immediately arbitrate the matter.

Changes to the Land and Environment Court Act, Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and associated regulations will:

  • Support the new conciliation/arbitration scheme;
  • Expand the types of decisions applicants can seek an internal review by councils on, to modifications and decisions to reject development applications on the basis of inadequate information;
  • Increase the proposed time limit to launch merit appeals from three to six months; and
  • Make clarifications for cost orders related to amending applications and the ability for Joint Regional Planning Panels and the Planning Assessment Commission to be heard in court.

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