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Powers of a Sydney District or Regional Planning Panel to “direct and control” a Council under the new amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act in a Class 1 Appeal:

Recently the Land and Environment Court has considered the newly introduced provision of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which enables planning panels involved in application decisions to “direct and control” the Council involved.

In this landmark case, the Court found the Council was indeed subject to both the direction and control of the Planning Panel, but furthermore that when the application goes before the Court in order to enter into an agreement to solve proceedings, that the Panel also becomes joined as a party in this process.

The Decision in M.H Earthmoving Pty Ltd v Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (No 2) [2018] NSWLEC 101:

By way of a brief background, this case involved a Class 1 Development application to expand an existing landfill in the Cootamundra-Gundagai Local Government Area.

As per the old EPA Act, the development application was required to be heard at the time by the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel (the JRPP Panel), and at the time the panel determined the application by way of refusal.  Upon this decision, the Applicant then filed an appeal with the LEC and the Planning Panel was informed as per the requirements under the EPA Act.
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Mandatory Local Planning Panels

The New South Wales Government on 10 August 2017 passed the Environmental Planning and Assessment and Electoral Legislation Amendment (Planning Panels and Enforcement) Bill 2017 (Bill). The Bill was assented to by the Governor on 14 August 2017 and will have immediate effect. The most notable part of the Bill is that it will require all Council’s in the Greater Sydney and Wollongong regions to have a local planning panel. The intention of the Bill was described by Planning and Housing Minister, Anthony Roberts to bring “transparency, integrity and a high degree of probity” to the development application process.

Function of the Local Planning Panels

Local Planning Panels are to be constituted by any Council that is within the Greater Sydney Region and the City of Wollongong before 1 March 2018. The function of these panels will be to carry out the consent authority functions of the Council in relation to development under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 in specific circumstances.
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