The Greater Sydney Commission will have a significant
determination function and will operate as an overlay to the Joint
Regional Planning Panels.
The structure of the Greater Sydney Commission
(GSC), originally announced in June 2014, was
revealed last week.
The GSC will be a critical element in the implementation of the
Government's Plan for Growing Sydney, as its seeks to usher in
a new age of integrated planning and development to cater for the
more than one million extra people expected to live in the city in
the next 10 years.
The Greater Sydney Commission's main functions
The GSC will be responsible for planning in metropolitan Sydney.
It is charged with:
taking district plans for six Sydney districts through to
finalisation (these are the north, central, south, south-west, west
and west central districts, as set out in the Government's
"A Plan for Growing Sydney");
reviewing local environmental plans. These are environmental
planning instruments which help set zoning and regulate development
in each local Council area. Councils will also be required to give
effect to regional growth plans and district plans when they amend
their local environmental plans;
carrying out the Minister for Planning's decision and plan
making functions relating to rezoning proposals;
the assessment and plan making functions that are currently
held by the Sydney Joint Regional Planning Panels. This includes
reporting and monitoring the implementation of "A Plan for
Who will sit on the Greater Sydney Commission?
There will be several different appointees to the GSC, including
six district commissioners who will be nominated by local Councils
for their respective district. There will also be:
an independent Chair, reporting to the Minister for
independent Environment, Economic and Social Commissioners,
which is meant to reflect the principles of ecologically
sustainable development; and
ex-officio roles given to the heads of the Department of
Planning, NSW Treasury, and Transport for NSW.
Representatives of Urban Growth NSW and Infrastructure NSW would
be involved with the GSC, but will not formally participate by
sending commissioner representatives.
The intention is that the GSC will be a slim organisation,
utilising rather than duplicating the resources of other
Four new committees as part of the GSC
The Sydney Planning Panel will subsume the
Sydney East and West Joint Regional Planning Panels. This Panel
will be given some of the tasks mentioned above, including:
review local environmental plans and conduct gateway reviews;
determine JRPP development applications (for example, with a
capital investment value of more than $20 million, or a value of
greater than $5 million for Council development applications).
This Panel will not replace the Central Sydney Planning
Committee for the City of Sydney, which will remain unaffected.
The Finance and Governance Committee will
measure performance, administer grants programs and develop new
The Infrastructure Delivery Committee is
charged with co-ordinating growth infrastructure (and will involve
the three agency heads from the Department of Planning, NSW
Treasury and Transport for NSW). Its object is to encourage
behavioural change by pursuing better co-ordination of delivery and
integration of infrastructure with development.
The Strategic Planning Committee has a district
What effect will the Greater Sydney Commission have?
What is interesting about the GSC is that it will have a
significant determination function and will operate as an overlay
to the Joint Regional Planning Panels that determine regionally
significant development applications in Sydney.
In some ways the GSC also mirrors the Victorian approach of the
Metropolitan Planning Authority, which also has planning,
co-ordination, review and approval roles, although its focus is
more on strategic sites and precincts, rather than the city as a
While there have been previous attempts to provide an
overarching planning and co-ordination agency, this latest attempt
appears to have taken on board the lessons learnt from previous
experiments. Its success will still depend to a large extent on
councils, State agencies and the State Government working
The GSC is to be established later in 2015 , and its enabling
legislation will be tabled in Parliament shortly.
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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