Planning system recommendations

By David Ipp, Commissioner, ICAC

In a report submitted to the NSW Government earlier this year, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) recommends changes to the NSW planning system in order to minimise the corruption risks inherent in the current processes.

Among the 16 recommendations outlined in the report, the ICAC recommends that the government takes steps to make it mandatory for major strategic policy documents to be considered during the making of planning instruments, and that it ensures that the system for assessing and approving developments of state significance provides opportunities for competing public interests to be considered.

The ICAC also recommends that the government should ensure that planning authorities are required to provide regular information and updates to the public about development applications under assessment, including any significant changes made to an application.

Anti-corruption safeguards are recommended by the ICAC to help minimise corruption in the NSW planning system. These include conducting meaningful community participation and consultation, expanding the scope of third party merit appeals, ensuring transparency, and reducing

The ICAC’s report, Anticorruption safeguards and the NSW planning system, was commenced independently of the review that is being conducted on the NSW planning system. The report was provided to the government in February 2012 as a submission response to a December 2011 issues paper.

Since its inception in 1989, the ICAC has produced 30 reports exposing likely and actual corrupt conduct involving the NSW planning system and several other reports relating to the potential for corruption within the system and recommendations to address these risks.

Anti-corruption safeguards and the NSW planning system is available from the ICAC website at

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