Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

A Submission Guide on the NSW Planning Green Paper

The proposals for a new NSW planning scheme contained in the in the Green Paper are deeply disturbing. These proposals  would bring about a significant reduction in environmental protection, public participation in decision making and access to the courts.  Community and conservation activists should not wait till these proposals are fleshed out but object to the general thrust of the proposed deregulation plan now.  Strongly worded objections regarding the worst aspects of the proposed new planning scheme are required to counter the pervasive influence of property and development interests on the Green Paper.  

Tell the NSW Government that you want a say in all aspects of planning and development. If you believe planning should remain a democratic process, then use this consultation process on the Green Paper to fight for not just your rights but those of the environment and your community as well. For more a detailed analysis, open the Colong Foundation submission attached below this guide.

Keith Muir

Submission deadline is Friday 14th September (please use your own words to express your concerns, don't just cut and paste these suggestions)
Lodgement by mail or online at

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New Planning System Team
Department of Planning and Infrastructure
GPO Box 39, Sydney 2001
Dear Sir/Madam,

I strongly oppose the Green Paper's pro-development bias. If adopted, the proposed changes this paper details for the new planning system would greatly reduce public participation and environmental protection in planning.

The NSW Government must deliver on its commitments to protect the environment and restore the public’s confidence in the planning system by:

1. Making Environmentally sustainable development (ESD) the primary objective for the new planning legislation.

2. Retaining enforceable and effective controls that protect the environment and residential amenity  (the so-called ‘green tape’). Environmental protection requires certainty for the rainforests, koala and wetland habitats, etc., while development is flexible and must be made to respond to environmental requirements and constraints.

3. Rejecting the developers' push to have Code assessments that deny adequate public involvement for medium to high impact development in environmentally sensitive or controversial areas. The Code should apply just to genuine low impact development.

4. Planning instruments must direct development to where it is appropriate.  Urban expansion must not be dictated by proterty interests, but by environmental considerations and community engagement.  Developers should not be able to force councils into rezoning their land.

5. Rejecting the property interest push for planning to be founded upon a presumption of approval for almost any development proposal, even those that don’t comply with environmental prescriptions and residential amenity controls.

6. Ensuring all planning processes include an objective test to “maintain or improve the environment” to ensure continual improvement of environmental outcomes.  Planning instruments and development control also must be integrated with the protections in existing natural resource management legislation so that development respects the environment's natural limits to growth.

7. Retaining government agencies sign off processes for proposed development in sensitive or controversial areas, such as in a water catchment or a threatened species habitat.

8. Strengthening protection for trees and urban bushland, coastal vegetation and heritage protection and ensuring that effective mechanisms for managing and mitigating climate change impacts are deployed.

9. Reinstating a community right to challenge the merit of all state significant development and proposed infrastructure in the Land and Environment Court (e.g. coal mines).

10. Establish open and transparent public participation processes for independent reviews of development proposals that are undertaken by the Planning Assessment Commission.

Public participation in planning is a fundamental right of any democratic society and must not be reduced.  Loss of public input leads to a one-sided developer-driven planning system, as proposed in the Green Paper. The Government’s stated intentions to retain third party access to the Land and Environment Court, ensure assessment of cumulative environmental impacts for development and enhance public participation processes are contradicted by  the many deregulation  proposals outlined in the Green Paper.  I believe the changes outlined for new planning system in the Green Paper will threaten the environment and social amenity of the community.

Each of the above issues must be addressed if the NSW Government's goal of rebuilding public confidence in the planning system is to be achieved.

Yours sincerely,


(ensure you put your name and address somewhere on your submission)