The Environmental Planning and Assessment and Electoral Legislation Amendment (Planning Panels and Enforcement) Act 2017 was assented to 14 August, and most changes will take effect 1 September 2017. The bill affects the Greater Sydney region and the City of Wollongong. The key changes are to:
- Remove the powers of councillors to determine development applications
- Require local councils within the affected areas to create local planning panels
- Give consent authority functions to those local planning panels, or a delegate of the council (an officer or employee), or a regional panel
- Allow local council to consult local planning panels on other development matters
The purpose of the amendment is to increase the transparency and independence of the development application process.