Urban Planning in New South Wales: Current Issues
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Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Briefing Paper No. 13/1998 by Stewart Smith
- Land is a finite commodity, and competition for land, especially in cities, is often quite intense. This also means that the choice of use of land in a city or town of any size is often an issue of contention that government must determine.
- The three tiers of government in Australia each have an important role to play in determining land use. In addition, the property owner (and in effect the property market) is possibly the most important player in determining what building and development occurs where.
- The Commonwealth Government is possibly the least important level of government in the administration of land use. Historically, the two main methods the Commonwealth has used to influence land use and design is through use of grants and by direct ownership of land. Commonwealth activities on Commonwealth land are not bound by any State or Local legislation, but by Commonwealth environmental law. This has created some conflict with the States and Territories. Further conflict may be generated when the Commonwealth Government decides to sell land considered surplus to requirements (pages 1-2).
- The State Government is also an important land owner in its own right owning important items of both cultural and natural heritage. How the State manages these resources provides an important role play' and demonstration of best practice' for the private sector. The State Government also has important planning powers and has a variety of means to control land use and design across the State. The State Government may also sell surplus' public land, and this may also create some criticism in the community, similar to any Commonwealth Government sale proposals (pages 2-5).
- Local Government is possibly the most important public sector participant in the land use planning field because it regulates day to day land use and building design and construction (page 5).
- Of course, the land owner plays a very important part in determining what goes where'. Land owners have important property rights, commonly referred to as doing as one pleases on one's own property'. How to marry the notion of private property rights and public interest has troubled governments for some time (pages 5-7).
- The Paper presents a case study of East Circular Quay as an example of urban land use conflict (pages 8-11). Some possible solutions to reduce land use conflict are discussed, centering around the concept of increasing the participation of the public in land use decision making (pages 11-15).