New South Wales

NSW Government announces new Rezoning Review process to improve planning system

A MORE independent and faster planning review process that stops rezoning applications being endlessly revived has been introduced by the NSW Government, Planning Minister Rob Stokes announced last week.

The new Rezoning Review replaces the existing pre-Gateway review and enables applicants to seek an independent review of council decisions on proposed rezonings.

Sydney CBD
Above: Sydney CBD / by Andrea Schaffer.

Mr Stokes said the new process, which commenced on September 1, will stop amendments being made to proposals at the review stage, slowing proceedings and wasting time and resources.

"This will end the absurd situation of proposals rising like zombies again and again in an endless cycle of amendments and resubmissions during the review process," Mr Stokes said.

"The Rezoning Review will also be faster, more efficient and more independent, enabling local decision makers to resolve matters without additional involvement of state bureaucrats.

"A simpler, easier to understand and quicker review process will benefit applicants and the community alike."

A strengthened strategic merit test will also be applied to proposed rezonings, and reviews will not take place without proposals satisfying this test as a minimum threshold.

According to the Minister, the new process was created following feedback from councils, the community and industry. Under the new process, it is expected 85 per cent of all Rezoning Reviews will be processed within 90 days. All review requests will automatically be referred to relevant planning authorities within three days.

Reviews will be conducted and decided by the relevant independent body, either Joint Regional Planning Panels or Sydney Planning Panels once operational. Rezoning Reviews within the City of Sydney will be conducted and decided by the independent Planning Assessment Commission.

Photo: View of Sydney CBD from Balls Head Reserve / Andrea Schaffer / Licensed under Creative Commons BY 2.0.

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