Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Changes to assist housing supply BILL INTRODUCED

On 1 March 2013 a new planning reform came into effect.  It is now easier to secure consent for some NSW development proposals when they are inconsistent with development control plans (DCPs).  A further, unexpected change has been made in relation to occupation certificates.  

Changes to assist housing supply


Chippendale Terraces - Scott Davies

Changes needed to reduce red tape and boost housing supply 

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2012 has passed through the NSW Parliament.
Heritage conservation areas will not have reduced protection and councils can still refuse development applications which do not address heritage issues.
The new laws will remove the direct conflicts between Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) and Development Control Plans (DCPs) which have been a barrier to delivering new housing. DCPs will return to their original purpose of being guidelines.
Current advertising and notification periods for any development will not be changed and community consultation on development will continue.
Changes were needed to reduce bureaucratic red tape, tighten controls on accredited certifiers and make it easier to publish planning information.
The provision of new housing has fallen to record lows and is contributing to higher house prices. These changes will make it easier to provide new housing and therefore assist affordability.
The new laws will take effect after the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2012 is proclaimed by the Governor of NSW and some amendments are made to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation. It is anticipated these steps will be completed early in 2013.


source: http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au

24 October 2012
Page: 52
Bill in
troduced on motion by Mr Brad Hazzard, read a first time and printed.
Second Reading
Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, and Minister
Assisting the Premier on Infrastructure NSW) [4.03 p.m.]: I move:
That this bill be now read a second time.
I am pleased to introduce the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill
2012. Members are well aware that the Government is working on new planning legislation.
This bill is an interim but essential mea
sure to address two significant areas of the former
Labor Government's past policy neglect: housing supply and building certification, including
the accreditation of certifiers. The Government needs to act now and not wait for the new
planning legislation.
Nevertheless the proposals in this bill are consistent with the policy
direction set out in the green paper. After reaching record lows under the former Labor
Government, housing production continues to perform below target notwithstanding that
there has
been an increase of 20 per cent over the previous year as a direct result of the
reforms made by the Liberal
Nationals Coalition Government. These reforms will remove
more unnecessary impediments and serve to assist in boosting housing supply.
I turn now
to the important provisions of the bill. Local environmental plans and State
environmental planning policies zone land. They contain the principal development standards
relating to issues like height and floor space ratio. They also contain broad aims and
objectives that seek to guide in general terms how development is to be carried out. Councils
have always been able to provide additional guidance
I stress "guidance"
development control plans. The problem this bill addresses is twofold. First, dev
control plans have gone from guiding development to being given the same weight, and
sometimes seemingly more weight, than the relevant local environmental plans. This follows
court decisions that have determined greater weight will be given to pl
ans that are
that is, repeatedly
applied. As a result, councils have become increasingly
unwilling to depart from the guidance provided in the development control plan when
assessing applications.
Secondly, the controls in development contro
l plans have grown and become ever more
complex and prescriptive. This makes it harder for projects to comply with the controls.
Taken together, these changes have lead to greater complexity, greater prescription and
greater inflexibility. The bill will re
dress the imbalance and ensure that consent authorities
will be able to continue assessing development against their existing development control
plans, but they must adopt a more flexible performance
based approach. The bill makes it
clear that developmen
t control plans are guidelines, and have less status than local

environmental plans and State environmental planning policies in the assessment process.
The bill also makes it clear that development control plans implement planning instruments
rather than
the other way around.
The bill provides that where a development application does not comply with a standard, the
consent authority must apply the development control plan flexibly and allow alternative
solutions to address those aspects of the developme
nt. Under the new provisions the consent
authority may consider the provisions of the development control plans only in connection
with the assessment of the particular application and is not to have regard to how the
provisions in the development control
plans have been applied previously or might be applied
in the future. These changes are also not an opportunity for councils to delay the preparation
of their standard instrument local environmental plans or to seek, at this stage, to include
unnecessary d
evelopment controls in those plans. Further work will be done in this area. Now
is not the time to require councils to redraft their development control plans. The Government
plans to have more comprehensive reform in this area in its forthcoming white pap
Bushfire risk is often reduced very quickly as an urban release area develops, but the bushfire
maps are not amended until sometime later, which triggers the need for unnecessary
assessment and approvals. The bill will enable streamlined assessment a
nd approvals in urban
release areas by allowing the Rural Fire Service to update the bushfire prone land maps.
Bushfire planning will also be able to be addressed strategically by enabling an assessment of
bushfire risk to be undertaken at the subdivision
stage, which will remove the need to
reassess bushfire issues for subsequent development applications, and any subsequent
approval for the site will consider any conditions imposed at the subdivision stage.
The bill amends the provisions in the Threatene
d Species Conservation Act relating to
biodiversity certification in Sydney's growth centres. Under the biodiversity certification
provisions that apply elsewhere in the State an approving authority is not required to consider
the likely impact of the prop
osal on biodiversity values within the biodiversity certified land
and avoids duplicating the strategic assessment already done. These provisions do not apply
currently to biodiversity certified land in the north
west and south
west growth centres. The
l will ensure that biodiversity certification provisions apply consistently to the growth
centres. The bill also clarifies that biodiversity certification will apply to certified land in the
growth centres irrespective of which environmental planning instr
uments apply.
The bill also includes some amendments to the existing uncommenced paper subdivision
provisions in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. The paper subdivision
provisions will provide a way to overcome barriers of fragmented ownersh
ip and lack of
infrastructure, and will enable land owners to work together with an appropriate authority to
fund the provision of infrastructure and unlock the potential of the land. The bill includes a
minor amendment to facilitate the move towards a mor
e code
based assessment. The
amendment will ensure that development contributions and levies can be imposed regardless
of whether approval is given by a development consent or a complying development

I now turn to the second area of policy re
building certification. The bill contains
measures developed after wide consultation to provide greater consumer protection, improve
private certification and more effectively deal with complaints. The bill implements the
following reforms. It provide
s additional protection for consumers by mandating written
contracts for certification work. It introduces provisions that allow the Building Professionals
Board to require an accredited certifier to undertake an examination and to allow the board to
existing conditions, impose new conditions or suspend or cancel accreditation in
response to that test. It introduces new provisions to expressly require the Building
Professionals Board and the Administrative Decisions Tribunal to consider previous
linary actions when imposing penalties for unsatisfactory professional conduct or
professional misconduct.
The bill also provides for greater powers for councils to better recover the costs of issuing
orders under the Environmental Planning and Assessment
Act. Part of the challenge facing
building certification is how to ensure that suitably qualified professionals design, install and
certify critical elements of building work, particularly in more complex buildings.
Compliance certificates can be relied u
pon by certifying authorities when issuing other
certificates such as construction certificates and occupation certificates. The bill will enable
compliance certificates to be issued by a person or a class of person prescribed by the
regulations, such as a
rchitects and land surveyors who have been involved in the design of
the building. The bill will also amend the Building Professionals Act to enable prescribed
persons to certify both the design and installation of building systems.
This will reduce build
ing costs, recognising the highly specialist nature of the work being
certified and ensuring that designers and installers take appropriate responsibility for the
work they perform. The bill is only part of the reforms to certification and accreditation. I
expect that the white paper will bring forward additional measures in this area. Making
planning content available online goes hand in hand with the Government's aim of increasing
the levels of transparency and fostering greater public confidence in the p
lanning system. The
State cannot overrule Federal copyright legislation but the bill expands the regulation
power for a statutory copyright indemnity for all types of information published by councils
during all planning processes and encourages cou
ncils to make all relevant documents
publicly available to the community. The proposals in this bill move to address two pressing
policy problems. Those problems were identified by the housing task force, which is a
Cabinet sub
committee, and the Building
Professionals Board. For those reasons I commend
the bill to the House.
Debate adjourned on motion by Mr Ron Hoenig and set down as an order of the day for
a later hour.