The Department is strengthening planning panels to ensure there is less certainty about who will be on a panel and make it harder to predict who will make decisions on projects. Along with other changes, this will help stamp out the potential for improper influence and lobbying.
The Department has updated the Operational Procedures to:
- encourage a minimum of 4 alternate council members
- require members to rotate regularly to ensure randomisation
- require probity checks, including police checks, and a statutory declaration for council-nominated members to sign, ensuring they are not property developers.
The department is also increasing the number of experts in the pool that Sydney District and Regional Planning Panels choose from to approximately 60, strengthening the induction process for members, and enhancing monitoring of panels.