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The best planning system in Australia or a system in need of review? An analysis of the New South Wales planning system

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The New South Wales Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979, came into effect on 1 September 1980. It was Australia's first planning legislation where the objects of the Act explicitly included a balance between economic, social and environmental outcomes. The Act also facilitated public participation at all stages of plan-making and land-use decision-making. While the Act continues to promote such aims, it has also undergone significant amendment, particularly in the last 5 years. This has seen a distinct move away from the spirit of the original objects of the Act to more centralized and less participatory decision-making. This paper examines the evolution of the Act and of the New South Wales planning system. The NSW Planning Department considers that the state's planning system is still world standard. This review concludes otherwise. Rather, the evidence strongly indicates that a review of the planning system and legislative framework is warranted in order to achieve better land management.

Keywords: Environmental Planning and Assessment Act; New South Wales planning; land-use planning; planning

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Division of Geography and Planning, School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences,University of New England, ArmidaleNew South Wales, Australia

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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