NSW development program faces probity probe

A NSW parliamentary committee has launched an inquiry into a controversial state government development program, which will put the spotlight on probity measures, the misuse of government information and failure to consult with councils.

Sue Higginson: scrutiny

The Transport Orientated Development (TOD) program will rezone locations near tram and train lines for residential development. It targets eight transport hubs for accelerated rezoning – including high rise development – and 31 for new State Environment Planning Policies.

The Upper House Planning and Environment committee will investigate how and why the government selected the eight accelerated precincts, and the 31 precincts where the new SEPP will apply from April.

“The committee will be critically assessing how the Transport Oriented Development program was developed,” Committee Chair Sue Higginson said.

“This includes whether there was adequate consultation with affected stakeholders, including councils … and whether impacts on heritage and environment have been properly considered.

“The inquiry will also … make sure the right processes are in place including probity measures, information control protocols, property disclosure requirements and management, and the adequacy of measures to deter and punish the misuse of confidential market sensitive government information”.

See the full terms of reference here.

Submissions can be made until March 28, with a final report due by September 27.

LGNSW disappointed

In its submission to the inquiry, LGNSW says the TOD Program was formulated with eleventh-hour engagement with councils and zero community consultation.

“It is disappointing that there is no evidence the Department has consulted councils and perhaps more importantly, the communities that they represent during its six month formulation of the TOD Program or that any visible regard has been given to the thousands of hours’ of strategic planning work done by councils to facilitate the market’s delivery of previous housing targets,” chief executive David Reynolds says.

The submission also expresses concerns about the absence of strategic vision, and a lack of detail about the program and infrastructure provision. It also says the policy creates complexity and conflicting planning controls.

“The Department’s approach to uplift the controls at speed and then require councils to retrospectively complete a planning strategy that reflects or exceeds these controls is counter to proper and orderly planning,” the submission says.

Solving the housing crisis

The government says the TOD program will offer a solution to the state’s housing crisis by building more housing near metro and rail stations, creating ‘sustainable and connected cities’ for future generations.

However, parliament heard last month the policy has been rushed and implemented in a way that has enabled corruption.

According to the Hansard record, Liberal MP Alister Henskens told parliament proper probity checks had not occurred, which led to corrupt conduct by at least one public official.

The matter has been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

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3 thoughts on “NSW development program faces probity probe

  1. I don’t hear anyone disagreeing with: The government says the TOD program will offer a solution to the state’s housing crisis by building more housing near metro and rail station. Actually any high capacity transit route stops.
    But the failure is to adequately consult. A Big FAIL.
    The noise is: Even the developers agree, Its not a isolated solution to the bigger issue.

    Is this committee too little to late?
    Given the SEPP applies from APRIL!
    As we clearly seen those power are not listening to the community and to local government who ultimately has to implement it.
    Again a Short time frame for submissions.

  2. I live in Gordon and our railway was selected for TOD even though we already have filled the West side of Hordon with apartments and have no new parks, playgrounds, sporting favilities and no public or civic spaces to service this population increase let alone expanding g development to East side.
    Traffic is gridlock already in Hordon.
    We have had freak weather events and lost canopy. The current State host plan will see further garden and canopy loss increasing climate change. The speed of the process and the lack of consultation for TODs with residents is dictatorial and undemocratic. We suspect it is developer driven and open to corruption.There should be sympathetic infill of streetscapes retaining heritage, gardens and sense of community. There should be proper planning for infrastructure and no development without that infrastructure. A community cannot thrive on a train line and a supermarket. We need to integrate the amenity of existing residents with sympathetic development such as dual occupancy and fast track granny flats. Not building to fenceline apartment buildings with minimal tree coverage per block. The current state govt housing plan is rushed and unsustainable and unfair on communities

  3. It’s so unfair how they have picked suburbs where they have already done their fair share of new apartment developments like Inner West of Sydney, we can’t cope with any more traffic, no new hospitals or parks/open spaces, parking, streets aren’t wide enough to cope with more traffic, schools in the area have reached their max. Solution is stop bringing more people into this country & stop overseas investors buying up our properties/houses!

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