The NSW Planning Bills will be brought back for consideration in February, 2014 following a number of amendments in the Legislative Council. The Trust lobbied successfully with the State Government to amend the draft planning bills to give heritage protection a higher profile through a specific NSW Heritage Policy. The objects of the Act now refer to “heritage”, appeal rights are retained, code assessment for State Heritage listings and local heritage and Heritage Conservation Areas was no longer mandatory.
The Trust had deep concerns that local government could utilise code assessment for development affecting local heritage and Heritage Conservation Areas and notes that an amendment has removed “Code Assessment” from the legislation. The Trust had also strongly objected to a recent amendment to the Mining State Environmental Planning Policy that gave economic considerations higher priority than conservation and welcomes an amendment which nullifies this. Another issue of deep concern to the Trust was a provision in the legislation that allowed major modifications to already approved State Significant Developments, such as massive tower development increases or mine expansions, without adequate new impact assessment. This provision has also been removed from the legislation.