Aerial photograph of the 2011 Bluesfest grounds, that was approved under Part 3A of the NSW Planning Act.
Aerial photograph of the 2011 Bluesfest grounds, that was approved under Part 3A of the NSW Planning Act.

Councils regain authority

THE State Government has handed more planning control back to local communities, scrapping the previous government’s controversial Part 3A of the Planning Act that saw many decisions made in Macquarie Street.

Noroc president and Ballina mayor Phil Silver applauded the State Government’s move.

“The devil is in the detail but the general philosophy of handing more authority back to councils is most welcome,” he said.

“It’s what we have been asking for.”

Under Part 3A a developer could bypass the local council and ask the government to determine the project based on it being of ‘state significance”.

However, the change is limited said NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge who said the government was simply “rebadging” Labor policies.

He said under the change, private developments such as mines, distribution and manufacturing facilities could still be approved without considering environmental controls.

On Friday, Byron Shire Council’s planning chief Ray Darney said there were two major projects in Byron still being assessed under the scheme.

“One is a subdivision development at Bayside, Brunswick, and I understand the Government has retained control of that.

“The other is the West Byron subdivision at Ewingsdale Road.”

Mr Darney said he was unsure where the West Byron would end up being assessed.

The Planning and Infrastructure department’s website lists the large residential development as being one that will be “removed” from Part 3A – and Mr Darney said that had been what council had been told.

“But,” he said, “after discussions with the Planning Department, we still don’t have clarity on that.”

A mixed use subdivision at Burns Point Ferry Road, Ballina, is also on the department’s “removed” list.

It would now be up to council “to consider the future of the land in the context of the shire’s new comprehensive LEP”, said Ballina’s group manager of strategic services, Steve Barnier.

In the Lismore area, the Champions Quarry project was being processed under Part 3A.

A Lismore City Council spokesman said it had not been provided with any formal advice on how Part 3A major projects awaiting determination by the Department of Planning would be determined.

However, based on previous circulars from the department, “application for the expansion of Champion’s Quarry will remain with the Department of Planning for assessment and determination”, he said.



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