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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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The Mid North Coast will be the focus of a forum this week led by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, bringing three State Government agencies together with local council staff to discuss recent improvements in planning policy in NSW.


Staff from MidCoast, Port Macquarie Hastings, and Kempsey Councils will also get to meet the state’s new North Regional Commissioner, Frank Holles, at this forum.


A barrister and Member of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Mr Holles’ job will be to advise the Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts, on regional planning issues in northern NSW.


He will work closely with the Department of Planning and Environment’s regional teams, local councils, state and federal authorities, to deliver regional projects including the Hunter Regional Plan 2036.


“I have a long association with northern NSW; it’s where I grew up, and it’s where I’ve worked for the last 30 years,” Mr Holles, who grew up in Armidale, said.


“I’m excited to be an advocate for country people in my new role and look forward to supporting council staff to get a better understanding of state planning legislation and regulations at this forum.”


The Department’s Acting Deputy Secretary, Elizabeth Kinkade, said it was vital for state and local government staff to work together with the community.


Ms Kinkade said tomorrow’s forum at Midcoast Council, in Taree, is one of 17 being run across NSW by the Department, bringing together representatives from Roads and Maritime Services, Environment Protection Authority, Office of Environment and Heritage, Transport for NSW, Department of Primary Industries and the Rural Fire Service, who will present a Bush Fire Protection workshop.


“Staff from the MidCoast, Port Macquarie Hastings, and Kempsey Councils will be provided with various tools and resources to further support their planning activities and decisions, such as the Development Application Best Practice Guidelines,” Ms Kinkade said.


“The forum will also provide information on the NSW e-planning program, updates on state-wide planning issues and information from agencies relevant to the community including those living in the MidCoast local government area, where this forum is being held; an LGA known for its pristine waterways, an extensive network of national parks and World Heritage wilderness areas.”