Mandating Independent Planning Panels the Right Approach

The Sydney Business Chamber says the introduction of Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAPs) for all Sydney councils is an important step in achieving better planning outcomes.

“Independent panels have been successfully used by individual councils for a number of years now  providing  independent, transparent and skilled assessment of key development applications,” said Patricia Forsythe, Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber.

“IHAPs typically draw on the expertise of professionals from across planning, urban design and architecture as well as representatives from the community to undertake development assessment.  

“Mandating their use is a great way to ensure assessment is undertaken by qualified professionals and that politics is taken out of development determinations.

“Introducing these panels will also enable councillors to focus more of their time to important local strategic decisions, such as the setting of new local environment and community strategic plans rather than focussing on individual developments. 

“IHAPs will enhance the integrity of decision-making for participants of the system and will give the community confidence in local planning processes,” Mrs Forsythe said. 

“Mandating the use of panels across Sydney for all developments between $5 million and $30 million; where there is a councillor conflict of interest; or where a development is accompanied by a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA), is a sensible step and will help reduce delays in the delivery of new housing and infrastructure.

“Minister Roberts is to be congratulated for taking a step that business has long sought. 

“The Chamber also acknowledges the former Planning Minister’s decision to allow the Minister to impose IHAPs on councils, which is something we have supported for a number of years,” she said. 

Kylie Adoranti

Public Affairs Manager

0450 784 616
Kylie handles media relations for the Sydney Business Chamber and the Sydney Business Chamber, Western Sydney. With a keen interest in politics and communications coupled with her background in journalism, Kylie aims to strengthen relationships with journalists and to expand the awareness of the Chamber's priorities and projects.