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Proposed Amendments to the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act

On 9 January 2017 the NSW Government announced a number of proposed amendments to the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) (EP&A Act). The Minister for Planning, Ben Stokes stated that the proposed amendments are aimed to “build greater confidence in the planning system by enhancing community participation, strengthening upfront strategic planning and delivering greater probity and integrity in decision-making”. To begin the process, Minister Stokes released a public consultation draft of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2017 (the draft Bill) on 9 January 2017. The draft Bill will be exhibited until 10 March 2017 for public consultation and Council can make a submission in response to it any time before that date.

The proposed amendments have been an ongoing topic for the NSW Government since previous proposed amendments to the State’s planning laws were blocked by the Upper House in late 2013. The draft Bill if passed in its current form is likely to have significant impacts on local Councils and will create a number of obligations for Council.
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