Under the new transparency laws that come into effect in NSW on September 15, people will be required to disclose the details of their political donations or gifts worth more than $1,000 when lodging planning or development applications.
Director-General of the NSW Department of Planning Sam Haddad said in a circular: “These amendments require the disclosure of relevant political donations or gifts when planning or development applications are made to minimise any perception of undue influence.
“Political donations or gifts are not relevant to the determination of any development application or planning matters, and the making of political donations or gifts does not provide grounds for challenging the determination of a development application or planning decision.”
The amendment, which forms part of the State Government’s planning reforms, also imposes disclosure obligations on persons who make a written comment on a development application or related planning issues.
A donation of less than $1,000 can also be reportable if the aggregated total of donations made to the same party or elected member within the same financial year exceeds $1,000.
Disclosures will be made public on a relevant council’s website and within 14 days.
The new laws do not apply to people seeking complying development certificates.
The department said significant penalties apply to non-disclosure.
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