Balancing flexibility and fairness: a review of the policy framework for Voluntary Planning Agreements

The NSW Government has responded to growing concern that the development industry is ‘being held to ransom’ by some Councils when negotiating VPAs by releasing a revised Practice Note and draft Direction and circular regarding the use of Voluntary Planning Agreements (VPAs) under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). On 4 November…

Just how just are the amendments proposed under the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Amendment Act 2016?

Improved transparency, certainty and fairness is the focus in the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Amendment Act 2016 (Amending Act), which has received assent from the Governor and will commence on a day or days to be appointed by proclamation. The Amending Act introduces changes to the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (Act)…

Changes to the Planning Act

On 6 May 2016, Planning Minister Rob Stokes announced that the NSW Government was revisiting its ‘revolutionary’ but unsuccessful bid in 2013 to amend the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. After months of consultation and amid community opposition, changes were blocked by Labor in the upper house. Since then, significant changes have been made to…

VPAs: Value capture or legal bribe?

There is a lot of noise about ‘value capture’ at present. One of the current NSW legal mechanisms for value capture in NSW sits within the framework for Voluntary Planning Agreements (VPA) set out in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). These agreements have in some cases been used by Planning Authorities…

Recent Activities of the Greater Sydney Commission

The Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) was established in late 2015 to oversee metropolitan planning and development in the Greater Sydney Region. The GSC functions as a partnership between the NSW Government and local governments, and has the power to make local environmental plans and prepare draft strategic plans for the Greater Sydney Region under the…

Greater Sydney Commission Bill 2015

On 22 October 2015, the NSW Government introduced the Greater Sydney Commission Bill 2015 (Bill) which has three main objectives: to establish the Greater Sydney Commission (Commission); to provide for the constitution of Sydney planning panels for the Greater Sydney Region; and to amend the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) which will…