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The NSW Government has called on relevant experts to express interest in becoming a chair or panel member for the recently introduced Independent Hearing Assessment Panels (IHAPs) that will become mandatory for all councils in Sydney and Wollongong. 

More than 450 applications have been received from experts in planning, architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism, or government and public administration, which provides a strong pool from which to draw candidates.

The Department is now working through these applications to select suitable candidates Councils can choose from. Councils will also begin the process of recruiting community members for the panels. The Minister for Planning will select the chairs for each panel. 

A key role of Councils is to set the strategic direction of their communities, identifying and protecting heritage, character and the environment. IHAPs will assess development applications against the Local Environmental Plans created by Councils and gazetted by the State Government, as well as various other legislation and planning policies. IHAPs will bring expertise, transparency and integrity to the assessment and determination of high-value development applications (DAs).  

“The Department is committed to creating great places and communities for NSW and the introduction of mandatory IHAPs for all Sydney councils and Wollongong City Council will allow us to do just that,” Deputy Secretary, Planning Services, Marcus Ray said.
 
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