Strategic planning in NSW will soon be a reality, with the passage of the Greater Sydney Commission Bill 2015 through the NSW Parliament.  

The Greater Sydney Commission Bill, which will commence on a day to be proclaimed, brings in two major planning reforms that will have a significant impact on NSW development:

  • the Greater Sydney Commission, which will co-ordinate the different levels of government involved in infrastructure and land use decisions, guided by the principles of ecological sustainable development; and
  • a new Part 3B: Strategic Planning, which creates two levels of strategic plans: regional plans and district plans.

Getting ready for strategic planning

The passage of the Bill will trigger further elements of the reform process. Regional and district plans will be developed, and local environmental plans reviewed with reference to them, affecting development right across Greater Sydney. This is likely to be the forerunner for similar Commissions for other regional centres in the State.

As the Government has already advertised for the CEO and District Commissioner roles, we expect the Commission will commence early in the new year. It will have considerable work ahead of it, including development of district plans, and co-ordinating development with delivery of infrastructure that Government has already committed to fund (such as the Sydney Metro and WestConnex). Development of appropriate value capture mechanisms will also likely feature prominently in the early work of the Commission as the Government looks for new ways to fund district based infrastructure.

Anyone with proposed development that has not been approved should be watching this space very carefully, and getting advice on how the transition to the new strategic and district plan system could influence those developments.