RUNNING Stream Water Users Association has taken its fight for a fairer planning system to NSW Parliament House.
President Nell Schofield and Kate Smolski from the Nature Conservation Council of NSW met with Member for Bathurst Paul Toole in his parliamentary office to outline concerns about the State Government’s draft planning bill.
“People in the Ilford-Running Stream area strongly oppose the draft planning bill as it currently formulated because it will deny landowners a real say in the way our local area develops,” Schofield said.
Schofield said the main concerns with the legislation include:
• Removal of the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
• Plans to have 80 per cent of development assessed without community consultation.
• Restriction of legal appeal rights.
• Risks of serious corruption in decision making.
“The government claims accountability and transparency will be improved by the new system, but under the draft bill the Minister and the Director-General have wide powers to do as they please.
“These are the sorts of powers that have led to serious corruption as seen recently in Bylong Valley.
“The state government must use this opportunity to corruption-proof the planning system, not create new opportunities for corruption to flourish.”
Schofield also expressed the association’s concerns over the reversal of the intent of the Aquifer Interference Policy in the draft State Environment Protection Policy (SEPP).
“Water is our most precious resource on this, the driest inhabited continent,” she told Mr Toole, who agreed that water was indeed a critical issue for communities in his electorate.
She asked him to make representations on behalf of the association to the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure to reinstate the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development in the Planning Bill and retain the intent of the Aquifer Interference Policy in the SEPP.
Mr Toole agreed to research the matter further.