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NSW puts communities at the centre of planning from 1 March

NSW puts communities at the centre of planning from 1 March


    Amended planning legislation in New South Wales is set to ensure development outcomes align with community aspiration across Australia’s most populous state.


    From 1 March, a substantially revised Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 will make public participation a central component of the planning process, and introduce structured community consultation principles that proponents and assessors must follow.

    “New South Wales - in particular the Sydney region - is growing at a rapid rate, and there are many examples of community consultation that’s being done really well and contributing to positive outcomes,” says RPS Director of Planning, Louise Bochner.

    “What’s exciting about the amendments to the EP&A Act is that they are based on a recognition that planning decisions made in 2018 don’t just shape our communities physically in the here and now, but impact their culture, identity, liveability and sustainability long into the future.

    “NSW is empowering its residents to co-author the stories of their cities and towns in partnership with the State and private sector,” she says.

    RPS is a leading provider of public engagement strategy and advice for major developments, infrastructure and public policy, and has assisted the Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) to update the information available on its website in relation to the changes.

    Once the revised Act comes into effect, the team looks forward to assisting the DP&E, councils, communities and developers to embrace its essence – community engagement that's appropriate to the project scale, done early and done well.

    “For local and state planning authorities, greater structure and guidance on public consultation will facilitate more meaningful, collaborative conversations with communities about the projects that matter,” says RPS Senior Communications Executive, Leanne Copping.

    “Decision-makers will need to give feedback to the community about the planning decisions they make about projects, so planning becomes more of an open dialogue. Building trust and allowing residents to see how their views have been taken into account is essential in establishing and maintaining the 'social licence to operate' that all sectors require.”

    Recognising that planning bodies across New South Wales work in different ways and cater to a diverse range of stakeholders, the DP&E will develop new tools and resources to assist councils to implement effective community consultation plans. These will be developed in consultation with stakeholders and implemented over the next 18 months.

    “The broad range of services that RPS offers means we work with stakeholders at every stage, from project inception to implementation. Experience tells us that the best development and infrastructure outcomes come from transparent and open dialogue with the people who will use and interact with a system or space.

    “We’re looking forward to supporting our clients at all stages of the planning process to collaborate for a more sustainable, liveable and productive New South Wales.”

    Talk to our community engagement and planning experts:

    Leanne Copping
    Senior Executive -Communications
    (02) 9248 9800

    Rachel Fox
    Discipline Leader – Stakeholder & Community Engagement
    (02) 9248 9800

    Louise Bochner
    Director – Planning
    (02) 9248 9800


    22 February 2018