DISCLAIMER: The views expressed below on the NSW planning environment are purely the personal opinion of Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson. They should not be interpreted as an official GreensNSW party statement but as coming from a local Randwick perspective.
I am asking that you consider re-tweeting this tweet on how Randwick Council is trying to represent the interests of our residents while setting supportable new heights and building densities in these two town centres.
Please consider re-tweeting
Fact: Both successive NSW Labor and Liberal state governments have followed a policy of reducing the strategic planning autonomy of local Councils. This occurred first under Labor with the introduction of independent Joint Regional Planning Panels (JRPP) and has continued under the Liberals with last year’s creation of Sydney district Planning Panels.This often misunderstood reality flows from the fact that Australian Councils have no constitutional recognition as our legitimate third tier of government.
As a 21 year veteran Councillor I have come to the conclusion that there is no point in not recognising that Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 grants ultimate legislative authority for State Governments over a Council in the setting of a Local Environmental Plan (LEP). This means that we Councillors will always be under the ultimate direction of various Government Ministers of the day under the NSW Local Government Act.
I might not personally like this unavoidable constraint on me as a Councillor, but a reality it remains.
This is why I am as supporter of Randwick Council’s attempts to form a working relationship with the new Planning Minister over development pressures along the section of Anzac Parade bracketed by the Kingsford and Kensington town centres. I stand ready to do the same if the Labor party wins state power at the next election.
It is the Liberal Government choice to continue the previous Labor government’s wariness of allowing direct local government strategic planning autonomy. But new Premier Gladys Berejiklian and new Planning Minister Anthony Roberts can still be open to recognising when a Council attempts a genuine non-adversarial planning strategy that recognises changing urban needs against the alternative of allowing piece-meal spot rezonings.