BANNING DONATIONS FROM DEVELOPERS WOULD MAKE OUR PLANNING SYSTEM FAIRER, MORE TRANSPARENT
Our planning system needs to be democratic, fair, and inclusive. The community needs to be able to trust that decisions about our city, about new buildings and new developments, are made in a way that is transparent and impartial, with the interests of the wider public given proper consideration.
But it is not possible to have a planning system with integrity, while property developers are able to exert huge influence over decision-makers through political donations.
Political donations allow property developers a level of power and access to key bureaucrats and departments that the rest of the community – already disenfranchised by recent changes to our planning and design code – simply does not have.
“Banning donations to political parties is a clear way of eliminating any perceived influence that developers may have over the planning process”, according to the Australian Institute of Architects.
NSW and Qld have already banned property developers from making donations to political parties or candidates, with other states likely to follow suit. A recent Senate Select Committee inquiry into the influence of political donations recommended a ban on donations from property developers.
43 submissions to the recent Legislative Review Council inquiry into the planning system called for a ban on donations from developers, to minimise the risk of corruption, and ensure a fairer, more trustworthy planning system.
So why is the SA Government not acting to ensure that we have a more equitable, open planning system?
We need the State Government to follow in the footsteps of NSW and Qld, listen to the recommendations of the NSW ICAC, and legislate a full ban on donations from the property industry.