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FOKE

What should change?

The planning issues confronting residents of Ku-ring-gai, and residents of the Sydney basin generally, are many.  However, they all flow from the New South Wales Government’s unjustified policy of "urban consolidation".  Closely linked with that policy is the Government’s unhealthy relationship with the property development industry – particularly the extent to which it encourages and indeed relies upon political donations from this sector – leading to a range of decisions, policies and practices that lack justification, and offend both common sense and residents generally.

In a very real sense all these represent a failure of democracy.  Government’s decisions in these areas are based on assertion rather than evidence that the benefits claimed are flowing from the decisions, or have actually flowed from similar decisions made anywhere else in the world.  Evidence to the contrary is merely dismissed with scorn as being "wrong", without any attempt at proper debate, let alone any attempt to demonstrate why it is wrong.

Many of the decisions have been made by changes to regulation, allowing no public or proper parliamentary debate.  In a number of important areas reliance has been placed on decisions made at the Minister’s discretion, without any means by which such decisions can be challenged, whether or not the decisions were made reasonably, after due enquiry, or after following due process, let alone whether relevant political donations appear to have been made at or around the same time.

Another questionable area is the Minister’s ability to "call in" particular developments, styling them "State significant" despite them having no realistic State-wide relevance, and in many cases often having what is clearly only local significance, and having a total value as small as $30 million.

Theses, and all of the areas listed below, need fixing.  We call upon the major political parties to make clear where they stand on each item in the list, and to commit themselves to reform, well ahead of the next State election, so that concerned residents can know where they stand when casting their votes.

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