Dr John Griffin is on the Northern Region Joint Planning Panel.
Dr John Griffin is on the Northern Region Joint Planning Panel. Tweed Daily News

Griffin given panel nod

TWEED Shire Council's long-serving former general manager Dr John Griffin has won a spot on a controversial new panel to handle major development decisions, despite his application for the job being rejected by Tweed councillors.

The NSW Government has announced Dr Griffin, who spent 15 years as the council's top boss until November 2005, has been appointed as one of its three representatives on the new Northern Region Joint Planning Panel.

He is to join Byron Shire former general manager Pamela Westing, who has just completed a review of Lismore City Council's planning procedures and former State government minister Garry West, who has been appointed chairman.

After considerable controversy and delays Tweed councillors last month chose representatives for its two positions on the panel - rejecting Dr Griffin.

Instead they chose Bond University assistant professor in sustainable development Ned Wales of Tweed Heads, Brisbane barrister Robert Quirk, who has a home at Terranora and ueensland government engineer Steven Grimes of Casuarina Beach as a back-up. Dr Griffin said he had “no comment at this stage”

NSW Planning Minister Kristina Keneally said the government had appointed representatives to six regional planning panels across the state.

“The successful state nominees have an extensive range of experience and qualifications in areas such as town planning, management, architecture and law,” Ms Keneally said.

She said the panels would start making decisions from next month on development applications worth more than $10 million, community infrastructure applications worth more than $5 million and projects where the council is the applicant.

“It will be the job of the panels to stand in the shoes that previously would have been occupied by a council or the Minister and make decisions on projects significant to a region,” Ms Keneally said. “The appointment of the members to the panels is a clear step in taking the politics out of the planning process.”

Former Greiner-Fahey government National Party minister Garry West, is one of two former politicians to head a panel. One-time Labor environment minister Pamela Allan heads the panel for southern NSW.



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