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planning panels and enforcement bill explanatory note 2017 835x373 


An Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel, known as an IHAP, is a panel of three independent expert members and a community member who assess development applications made to local Councils. 


IHAPs are to become mandatory for all councils in Sydney and for Wollongong City Council. IHAPs are to be put in place so that the process of assessment and determination of development applications (DAs) of high value, corruption risk, sensitivity or strategic importance is transparent and accountable.


All IHAPs will follow a standard model comprising of three independent expert members and a community member.  Statutory rules will govern the panels operation, through a code of conduct. 

The Minister for Planning will choose the independent, expert Chair for Councils to appoint to their IHAP. Councils will also choose two expert members to appoint to their IHAP from a pool established by the Department of Planning and Environment and approved by the Minister for Planning. It will be up to Councils to appoint community members to the panels.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 17 September 2017.


Department of Planning and Environment is calling for suitably qualified candidates to submit an application and CV to be considered as members of IHAPs.


Prospective panel members are required to be expert in one or more of the following fields: planning, architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism, or government and public administration.


Panel chairs are required to have expertise in law, or government and public administration.


Councillors, property developers and real estate agents will be ineligible to be panel members as this undermines the objective of having DAs determined by independent experts, depoliticising the assessment process.

Applications are sought for the following part-time positions:

  • Panel chairs,
  • Panel members and alternate members

Candidates should indicate the council areas or Sydney Districts that they prefer to work within. There may be the opportunity for chairs and members to work across a number of different IHAPs. Candidates with capacity and interest should indicate their preferences in this regard.


Candidates will be required to demonstrate capabilities outlined in the Role Statement including:

  • Senior level experience in dealing with multiple stakeholders
  • High level communication skills
  • Capability to drive high profile outcomes in a credible and authoritative manner
  • High level analytical skills
  • Knowledge of the assessment of complex developments and planning matters.

Candidates requesting consideration as a panel chair must also have:

  • Demonstrated experience in corporate governance issues
  • Sound leadership expertise and demonstrated ability in chairing public hearings / meetings.


Appointments are for up to three years. 


How to apply: A 'Candidate application for IHAP Chair/Member' addressing the capability areas in the role statement, the above criteria and expertise and a current CV should be emailed to


The closing date for applications is Sunday 17 September 2017.


Role Statements and more information about the role and function of the IHAPs can be found on this page. For more information please contact the Planning Panels Secretariat on (02) 8217 2061.

Page last updated: 20/09/2017