Ask the Parliament to fix the planning mess
We have reached a critical point in the fight to halt and defer the implementation of the
flawed policy and process of the Government’s Planning and Design Code.
Even though the Phase 2 (rural) Code has already ‘gone live’, it is not too late to halt and
review the whole process. This would mean deferring Phase 3 (metropolitan) for as long as it
takes to review and repair it, and re-appraising the future of Phase 1 (remote) and Phase 2.
This prospect has now become feasible because of several recent developments.
The discredited Stephan Knoll has been replaced as Planning Minister by Deputy Premier Vickie
Chapman, who has an encouragingly enlightened attitude to planning reform and heritage.
A news report last week confirmed the unreadiness of the Code for implementation and the
concerns of the building industries at the prospect of dealing with unprepared, confusing and
uncertain administrative processes for the assessment and approval of development
There is now very real industrial, political and community pressure to delay any further moves
to Code implementation until 2021.
We are aware that the Government, at last, has recognised the intransigent incompetence of
the State Planning Commission and DPTI in creating such a mess of the Planning and Design
With the advent of Vickie Chapman to the Planning Portfolio, there is an opportunity for
Cabinet to break the damaging stranglehold of the bureaucracy on the planning system. We
have hopes that this will lead, not only to implementation deferral, but to a constructive
review of issues such as contributory items, zoning, block sizes, height allowances and
the protection of heritage, trees and open space.
We now also have another opportunity to influence the political process through the
Parliament’s Legislative Review Committee (LRC) which is considering the 14,000 signature
Protect our Heritage Petition, which many of you signed earlier in the year. The Petition calls
on the Parliament to review the operation of the new Planning Act and the State Planning Commission
and to defer implementation of the Code pending genuine community consultation.
The LRC has now called for written public submissions for its consideration. This is your
best chance to be heard by the Parliament and to prevent the further erosion of community
rights, public accountability and protections for our environment and heritage.
Submissions close on 14 September 2020.
The LRC will Report in due course to the Minister who, in turn, must respond and report to
We now have a gateway of opportunity to exert renewed influence on the planning
process. This pressure must now be political. Cabinet has lost confidence in the planning
bureaucracy, and the real battle now is for the hearts and minds of Government MPs whose
political future is in increasing jeopardy.
Professor Warren Jones AO is the Convenor of the Protect our Heritage Alliance, a coalition of
concerned organisations and individuals, working to protect our built and natural environment.
Phone: 0419 852 622 Email: [email protected]