Though the community action helped to stop the disastrous 2013 Planning Law changes, late 2016 and 2017 have again seen Planning Law updates aimed at increasing development and density throughout Sydney. The latest updates can be seen on the Department of Planning information page Legislative Updates . Submissions were made by FOKE covering a number of issues including those of our member briefing note 2017 Planning Legislative Update points. This comes on top of the 2016 proposals to extend Medium Density housing into R2 Residential zones. A proposal that is the basis of the Greater Sydney Commission density plans. See FOKE’s media release on this topic, Low Density Residential Zones to Disappear
Prior to the 2015 NSW State Election, the Better Planning Network and its 470 members took a proactive approach targeting candidates to commit to a planning process as outlined in A Community Charter for Good Planning in NSW.
The key principles on which the Charter is based are: a) The well-being of the whole community, the environment and future generations across regional, rural and urban NSW. b) Effective and genuine public participation in strategic planning and development decisions. c) An open, accessible, transparent and accountable, corruption-free planning system. d) The integration of land use planning with the provision of infrastructure and the conservation of our natural, built and cultural environment, and e) Objective, evidence-based assessment of strategic planning and development proposals.
This Community Charter has been prepared by a working group of community organisations from around the State over a number of months, in consultation with Better Planning Network, Community Councillors Network, Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development, National Parks Association of NSW, National Trust of Australia (NSW), Nature Conservation Council of NSW, NSW Heritage Network, Shelter NSW, Australia International Council of Monuments and Sites and The Total Environment Centre.
Already hundreds of individuals, organisations and politicians across NSW, have endorsed the Charter. Unfortunately to date, none from our NSW Liberal Government have signed the Charter.
We invite you to read the Charter and endorse A Community Charter for Good Planning in NSW.
Together, we can make a difference.
YouTube Documentary: State of Siege Much of what we expected, and were promised, in respect of planning reform from a Coalition Government has not been acted on. As a consequence the documentary that exposed the ills of the past remains relevant in 2017. Click State of Siege to see the entire 2011 documentary directed by Dennis Grosvenor that exposes the history of corruption behind planning and development in New South Wales. For more information go to www.stateofsiege.com.au
On 1 August 2014 the NSW Government announced the commencement of the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing legislation and Code of Practice (the 10/50 Code), in accordance with section 100Q of the Rural Fires Amendment (Vegetation Clearing) Bill 2014. This allowed trees to be removed without Council approval within a 10 metre proximity to a home and other vegetation within a 50 metre radius when in a designated fire threat area. There has been widespread misuse of this legislation to destroy hundreds of trees across Ku-ring-gai and thousands across Sydney. Many historic and significant trees have been felled in areas that are not seem as bushfire prone areas. These have often been cleared to to allow for further developement.
Due to significant public concerns raised regarding the application of the 10/50 Code a review of the 10/50 legislation, Code of Practice and Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Areas has been brought forward. In late November 2016, the Baird government tightened the regulation. Homes deemed to be near vegetation deemed to be category-one bushland will only be allowed to apply the 10/50 rules if they are within 100 metres of that bushland, rather than 350 metres previously. Residents near category-two bushland will be able to clear trees and vegetation under the 10/50 rules only if they live within 30 metres of the bush, compared with 150 metres under the previous setting.The confusion of rules and how they applied would likely continue, it would have been more reasonable to halt the permit-free clearing until the review of the policy by the Rural Fire Service and the Department of Planning and Environment had been completed.
Biodiversity Laws weakened.
The NSW State Liberal Government voted in November 2016 for extinction with their flawed, reckless and biased Biodiversity Conservation and Local Land Services Amendment Act. Despite thousands of submissions against these anti-environment laws, the Liberal Party shamefully caved into pressure from the National Party. The Liberal Party’s environmental credibility is now severely damaged by these new laws which seriously put wildlife, trees and climate at risk. To this extent, one of the Premier’s senior advisors on this legislation, Professor Possingham, resigned in November 2016 stating that the package is bad for biodiversity. Similarly, The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists have described this funding as a “taxpayer subsidy for farmers to degrade land” These laws will put Ku-ring-gai’s environment at risk. The Nature Conservation Council of NSW, the umbrella group for NSW’s environment groups (including FOKE), promised that the campaign to repeal these laws that exacerbate extinction will not go away until they are repealed. We need a new vision to protect, restore and ensure resilience for our precious biodiversity. See our Media Release , detailing FOKE’s arguments against these draft Biodiversity laws Media Release 27 June 2016
On 4 December 2012 Ku-ring-gai Council settled on the purchase of 828 Pacific Highway,Gordon, following a number of confidential reports considered at council meetings that were closed to the public. The purchase was resolved without any prior community consultation. The acquisition was only made on the basis that it would be funded by the rationalisation of what council staff described as 23 “under-utilised” council assets. These 23 “under-utilised” assets included the Culworth Avenue Car Park, Killara; the Lifeline Centre, Gordon; the Gordon Community Pre-school; public land adjacent to East Killara, West Pymble and East Lindfield shops; and the Ku-ring-gai Town Hall at Pymble.
The purchase price of 828 Pacific Highway was $22.5 million, with the costs of refurbishing, upgrading and moving from the old building (next door) expected to bring the total cost to more than $30 million – all without any firm plan for financing the purchase and move!
Council has commenced the process to reclassify and sell off a number of these assets including the Culworth Avenue Car Park, Killara; 17 Marian Street Killara; 9 Havilah Lane, Lindfield; 19 Hughes Place, Lindfield; 97 Babbage Road, East Roseville; 23 and 25 Griffith and 30 and 32 Calga Street, Roseville Chase; Kulgoa Road, West Pymble; and Pymble Playgroup, 57 Merrivale Road Pymble.
FOKE remains opposed to the reclassification and sell-off of valuable public assets which are finite and cannot be replaced.