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NSW Department of Planning and Environment
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Major reform to Independent Planning Commission following extensive review

  • Date: 01.02.2020
  • Type: Ministerial Media Release
  • Author: Rob Stokes Minister for Planning and Public Spaces

The State’s Independent Planning Commission will be overhauled, following an extensive review by the NSW Productivity Commission.

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the NSW Government had accepted all of the review’s recommendations.

“The IPC will undergo a significant transformation with new performance benchmarks, streamlined processes, greater accountability, and new Commissioners, to ensure the system works better for everyone,” Mr Stokes said.

“An effective planning system is vital to the health of the NSW economy and the recommendations of the Productivity Commission will increase certainty and confidence in the way planning decisions are made.”

The key changes to the IPC will include:

  • Establishing the IPC as a separate and independent agency, with its chair accountable to the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces and responsible for delivering on the Government’s agreed objectives and performance measures;

  • Clarifying roles - with the IPC to act as a decision-maker on the State’s most controversial projects rather than re-assessing the Department’s technical work;

  • Eliminating bureaucratic double handling with the introduction of a single-stage public hearing process;

  • Ensuring only the most complex and contentious projects are referred to the IPC by raising the referral threshold to 50 unique community objections; and

  • Introducing accountability benchmarks for decision-making timeframes to ensure timely determinations.

“I am pleased the review has reaffirmed the value of independent decision-making for the State’s most complex and contentious projects, but it is clear changes need to be made to ensure greater certainty for people and the community.”

The reform of the IPC will be spearheaded by Acting IPC Chair Peter Duncan AM, who brings extensive agency leadership and reform experience, including as a current Commissioner of the IPC and a former Director General of the Department of Services Technology and Administration NSW, Chief Executive of Roads and Maritime Services, and Deputy Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

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