The Greens today welcomed the release of the Interim Report of the Expert Panel on Planning Reform, but warned that many of the ideas would face an uphill battle in the community unless citizens were given more rights to be involved in planning decisions, according to Mark Parnell MLC, Greens SA Parliamentary Leader and environmental lawyer.
“Brian Hayes QC and his team have done a good job identifying key issues, but proposals for a reduced role for local councils will face opposition unless the proposed new planning bodies incorporate local input and genuine Parliamentary scrutiny.
“Local Councils have an in-depth understanding of their local communities and need to be deeply involved in local planning decisions.
“Under the current regime (in operation since 1994), Parliamentary scrutiny is a joke. The Parliament has NEVER voted against a Ministerial planning decision, because the Government controls the Parliamentary Committee that makes the final decision. As today’s Interim Report acknowledges, Parliamentary Scrutiny over planning decisions is too little and too late.
“Most people are cynical about the planning system. They know that money talks. They suspect that political donations pave the way to planning approvals and rezoning. They know they have few rights to challenge bad decisions.
“The Greens will be working with local community groups and residents’ associations to make sure that whatever changes are made to the planning system, “Putting People back into Planning” is made a top priority”, concluded Mr Parnell.