'Changes needed in planning laws'

THE Greens Party candidate for the seat of Tweed in the March 26 state election, Andrea Vickers, has spelt out why she believes changes are needed to NSW planning laws.

“It's clear that no-one is

happy with the current planning laws and how they're affecting Tweed, but how we fix them is a question that needs to be answered with great care,” Ms Vickers said yesterday.

“The Greens have called for an Independent State Planning Commission to better integrate key planning decisions across the state, and ensure that corruption plays no part in the planning process.” Her comments follow promises by the Coalition parties to undertake a major review of planning laws if they form government after March 26.

At the weekend the developer lobby group, the Urban Taskforce, said the case for reforming NSW's planning system had been strengthened following release of a damning report

by the Productivity Commission. Urban Taskforce's chief executive Aaron Gadiel said the report singled out NSW for special criticism, finding that in the last fin- ancial year NSW had the highest residential infrastructure charges imposed on developers.

Ms Vickers, who lives at Kingscliff, said approval for too many major developments was being decided by the NSW Planning Mini- ster Tony Kelly

rather than local councils.

“Twenty-one major developments in Tweed are currently in the hands of the minister, instead of in the hands of local government,” Ms Vickers said.

“It's frightening that our future can be decided on this scale by a single politician 840 kilometres away in Sydney.”

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