NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Two new groups have been established to speed up assessments, improve outcomes and unlock economic benefits for Aboriginal communities.

The Department of Planning and Environment’s Deputy Secretary of NSW Planning, Marcus Ray said a dedicated service had been set up within the Department of Planning and Environment, to help Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) and Native Title Body Corporates navigate the planning system.

“This is an important step in returning to a level of ‘self-determination’ for Aboriginal communities, so they can control the destiny of their land,” Mr Ray said.

“Ultimately, the new Aboriginal Planning Concierge will help unlock opportunities on Aboriginal-owned land, by reducing backlogs and accelerating the assessment process.

“Whether it’s clearing hurdles holding up a proposal’s determination, or resolving complex issues with agencies and industry, this team is skilled at removing barriers and simplifying pathways to avoid delays and keep the economy going.”

Marcus Leslie, a Gomeroi man from North West NSW with a background in natural resource management and environmental regulation, will lead the Concierge to offer advice, build relationships, and ensure seamless experiences in the planning system.

Mr Ray said Aboriginal communities will also benefit from the appointment of 13 new specialists to the current expert pool for the Sydney District and Regional Planning Panels.

“These new specialists, with expertise in strategic planning and Aboriginal land planning, will join the existing pool of alternate members on a case-by-case basis when needed to improve decision-making, and help speed up the assessment and delivery of new homes, jobs, and infrastructure,” he said.

“This will give existing panels the additional resources they need to improve rezoning reviews, planning proposal timeframes and unlock more opportunities for Local Aboriginal Land Councils.”