Our NSW Planning System is no longer fit for purpose and has lost its integrity.
The NSW Planning Act needs to be reformed so that it acts in the ‘public interest’ and protects the places we love - such as St Ives remnant Blue Gum High Forest and Belrose's 'Lizard Rock' bushland.
The NSW planning system must prioritise the public interest first. It should not be a 'wish list' for developers to make mega profits through rezonings for more medium density housing and high rise development.
The NSW planning system has failed to address the crises of our times - climate change, biodiversity extinction; loss of neighbourhood character, heritage and environment.
We need to remove the influence of developers. They have effectively captured NSW Planning for their own interests.
This is why I am calling for a Royal Commission into the NSW Planning System.
The Royal Commission scope of investigation may include:
- money laundering in property development,
- lack of controls to stop development on environmentally sensitive areas such as critically endangered bushland, floodplains and bushfire areas
- windfall profits from rezonings be reinvested back into the community rather than go to developers
- sale of public land - public open, green space, parks and playgrounds
- lack of community consultation
- State Government pressure on local governments to provide more housing regardless of capacity, heritage and environment;
- review of Independent Planning Panels that have diminished local government powers
- the end of private certifiers
- checks and balances on planning minister’s planning powers that override heritage and environment legislation
- fraudulent environmental offsets;
- failure to put in place infrastructure in before transport;
- failure of heritage laws to protect built, Indigenous and natural heritage;
- limit tree losses in urban areas;
We need to:
- End new building on threatened-species habitat, forest and floodplains
- Ensure planning supports transition plans that involve Federal, State and Local governments to assist communities currently reliant on coal, oil and gas extraction.
- Work to safeguard people and nature safe from catastrophic bushfire, flooding and heat stress.
- Ensure all new buildings are energy efficient where planning needs to be integrated into other infrastructure such as transport to support the massive transition to renewable energy.
Janine's experience protecting the places we love in Davidson
- Former Councillor on Ku-ring-gai Council that opposed overdevelopment
- Led a community campaign to save the heritage of Gordon Railway Station
Why we need to protect Davidson
We need to protect Davidson’s precious garden and bushland suburbs that are worthy of State and National Heritage listing because of:
- the outstanding quantity, quality, depth and range of its twentieth century housing, including examples by many of Australia’s prominent twentieth century architects;
- and the evidence it provides of twentieth century town planning and conservation philosophies.
In 1997 the National Trust of Australia (NSW) recommended that 27 precincts be classified as Urban Conservation Areas to protect this outstanding heritage. identified urban conservation areas and remnant Blue Gum High Forest and other outstanding cultural assets. It is time for this outstanding built and natural and cultural heritage to be National Heritage listed.
The single most issue that the community of Davidson have been concerned about is overdevelopment. Urban consolidation polices by both Labor and Liberal have destroyed the heritage and environment of Davidson - that includes the Ku-ring-gai and Northern Beaches local government area.
- to call for studies to apply for National Heritage listing of Davidson’s garden and bushland suburbs.
- an independent study to examine all planning issues relating to Davidson including climate resilience, environment, heritage and infrastructure (water, electricity, public EV transport)
- a moratorium on new LEP for high rise rezonings until after Royal Commission into the NSW Planning system.
- to place bans on development and rezonings of environmentally sensitive lands in Davidson.
- to ensure retirement villages are not used as a pretext for high rise development.
- studies on the level of growth possible in Davidson. A baseline study was done in 2000 and it is 20 years since this and should be reviewed.
- to highlight the value of urban aesthetics and remove the ‘uglification’ of mass advertising especially billboard advertising on major roads (Gordon and Mona Vale Road)
- Planning that is evidence based not profit driven
- to keep Davidson low rise. Keep Davidson under the canopy. No 20 storey towers. Liveable neighbourhoods with parks and playgrounds
- to build Davidson's resilience to catastrophic bushfires, storms and floods
- ‘no go' development zones such as for 'Lizard Rock'
- housing affordable policies.
We are all connected. If we look after the trees, forests, bushland of Davidson then help reduce the sweltering heat waves impacting on Western Sydney.