Mr ROB STOKES
(Pittwater—Parliamentary Secretary) [1.50 p.m.]: I will make a brief statement on behalf of the community I represent at Pittwater and encourage all the people of Pittwater to take the opportunity to have their say as part of the New South Wales planning review that is currently underway chaired by the Senior Commissioner of the Land and Environment Court, Tim Moore, and former Labor Minister, Ron Dyer. The consultations on this once-in-a-generation review of the planning system are coming to the northern beaches for the benefit of the Pittwater community tomorrow between 3.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m. and from 6.00 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. at the Manly Leagues Club in Brookvale. This is an opportunity for the northern beaches community to have their say on the most important reshaping of the State's planning laws in more than 30 years.
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, because of its constant ad hoc and piecemeal amendments over many years, has led to a number of poor planning outcomes in my community of Pittwater that have led to enormous anger and disillusionment, cost, frustration, delay and litigation in the community I am proud to represent. We have seen countless examples. Perhaps the most symbolic is the case of Currawong, that beautiful, historic beach-front bushland on the western foreshores of Pittwater that was almost lost because of the delay and mismanagement under the planning system left to us by the former Labor Government. There are also cases like the proliferation of seniors-living developments and affordable rental housing developments—so-called, I say, because as they have been rolled out across Pittwater they have been little more than a subterfuge for putting residential flat buildings in areas not zoned for that purpose and certainly where the local community has had no anticipation that those sorts of developments will be put in those areas.
We need to make provision for appropriate housing mixes throughout our community but it is also appropriate that the community has a right to be heard in those discussions—to be front and centre in the discussions about what their streetscapes, neighbourhoods and localities are going to look like in five, 10 and 20 years into the future. Obviously we cannot plan for every eventuality but we need a planning system that is robust and open enough to allow genuine dialogue and consultation with the community. Time and time again under the old system we saw a veneer of participation, but it was just a mask for venality and hypocrisy when decisions had already been made and the community was only being brought along as a sort of dressing after the event.
That is why this root and branch reform of the planning system is so important and it is why it is so important that local communities like the community I represent, Pittwater, is involved from the very get-go of this new legislation to ensure that it is designed appropriately to allow the people to have real input into the exciting decisions about what their areas are going to look like. When I look at my community—and I know other members would feel the same—we are characterised as an outer metropolitan area of Sydney but that is not really what we are. Everyone in Pittwater is proud of their little locality—the little villages on the western foreshores of Pittwater or Scotland Island or the string of villages along the coast all have their unique identity. Everyone who lives there, whether they are owners, renters or travelling through, loves the area. They love the weatherboard, the sandstone, the spotted gums and the elements that go together to give it its character and its identity.
The planning system must ensure that local voices are heard. That is why this planning review is so important. I applaud the Minister for taking the step to engage widely on these matters and I encourage everyone in my community of Pittwater to take the opportunity to get along to Manly Leagues Club tomorrow and have their say on the shape of our planning legislation into the future.
Mr CRAIG BAUMANN
(Port Stephens—Parliamentary Secretary) [1.55 p.m.]: I thank the member for Pittwater for bringing this issue to the House's attention. The New South Wales planning review, the 10-week tour undertaken by Tim Moore and Ron Dyer, is nearly over. They should have a green paper prepared in the next couple of months. That will be on the website for everybody to look at and to comment on. Legislation will be prepared from that. Every member of this House, who is as passionate about their electorate as the member for Pittwater obviously is, should keep an eye out for that and participate as much as possible to restore the correct planning procedures in this State.