Sartor backs new coastal laws

FORMER NSW planning minister Frank Sartor is calling for a drastic overhaul of coastal development laws.

The former minister, who oversaw the introduction of the Far North Coast Strategy that dictates growth on the Tweed, believes current laws governing coastal development need to be replaced with legislation that finds a better balance between environmental protection and the need for development.

“There is a need for new State environmental planning laws that covers the whole coastal area,” said Mr Sartor, who met with concerned coastal residents at Tweed Heads this week.

“These laws should focus on the whole coastal areas - from the dune areas right back to the estuaries - and should take into account the impacts of climate change, pop- ulation growth and other development.

“What is needed is State planning legislation that is clear, unambig- uous and strong.

“I think the community would accept that there is need for appropriate development if there was greater consultation and trans- parency from the developer and government, and they feel they are part of the process.”

Mr Sartor, who was replaced as planning minister in September last year by Kristina Keneally, was invited to the Tweed on Wednesday by the Hastings Village Progress Association and the Sustainable Villages Alliance, to discuss various coastal planning issues.

The community groups which have fought “inappropriate and unlawful development” in the Tweed's coastal villages and taken their fight to the Land and Environment Court, called the meeting to “clarify the planning laws” and recent legislative changes.

“What we are asking for is simply, that the government's policies and laws are applied to their full extent,” said John O'Reilly, a Hastings Point lawyer.

“We need that clarification because we feel with some developments in the area this has not been the case.”

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