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Call for independent decisions on developments
Released 17 February 2012

Homeowners want independent experts to make decisions on significant development projects.      

New research reveals the community wants independent experts – not local councillors – making decisions on significant development projects.

Conducted by Auspoll for the Property Council of Australia , the research looked at community attitudes towards council performance and development assessment.

More than 1000 homeowners across NSW were surveyed, particularly on the use of independent planning panels that determine significant projects.

The future of independent panels is being evaluated during the current review of the state’s planning system.

Property Council of Australia’s NSW Executive Director Glenn Byres said the state needs a planning system that is free of politics and makes decisions that are consistent, open and honest.

“The community understands that is best delivered when an independent umpire acts as a guardian of the system and determines the fate of significant projects,” he said.

“The role of the independent planning panels should be retained and consolidated in any new planning system to emerge in NSW.”

Findings of the survey showed 78 per cent of people wanted independent experts in charge and only 22 per cent wanted local councillors making decisions.

A total of 83 per cent of people thought independent panels kept politics and self-interest out of planning and 88 per cent agreed independent panels could help keep decisions consistent, transparent and honest.

“These findings show the use of independent planning panels can help give everyone confidence that decisions will be made on merit,” Mr Byres said.

“It is time for councillors across NSW who oppose the use of planning panels to drop their calls for the elimination of independent experts in the system.”

The research report is available at