PLANNING and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard has moved to dissolve interim planning panels at Wagga Wagga and hand planning powers back to the local community.
The Minister said he recognised efforts by Wagga Wagga Council to reform its internal procedures and is confident the Council is now fit to manage its own planning processes, in conjunction with the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP).
Following concern about the Council's performance, two external planning panels were created to take over planning processes at Wagga Wagga.
However, the Minister said there have since been significant reforms to the Council's internal procedures and a commitment to ongoing improvement.
"In light of what I saw at Wagga Wagga [following a recent visit] and what I believe is a commitment to reform, there is no longer a need for the independent panels to operate; planning decisions will now be made by Council and the Southern JRPP."
The Southern JRPP will extend its jurisdiction to include the Wagga Wagga local government area and Mr Hazzard has recommended the JRPP take over planning proposals for the Cartwrights Hill and Estella areas.
"The NSW Government is committed to returning planning powers to local communities, and the decision not to appoint an administrator and dismiss the interim panels is a demonstration of this commitment," Mr Hazzard said.