Big tick for planning charter
On September 18, under the Tree of Knowledge in Sydney’s Domain, scores of people gathered to witness and applaud the launch of an ambitious charter for principled planning in NSW. Prepared by a working group of community organisations, the charter titled “Planning for People: A Community Charter for Good Planning in NSW” envisages a planning system that is built on fairness, equity and ecological sustainability.
Corinne Fisher addresses the crowd (Photo: Virginia Minh)
Speaking at the launch of the charter, the Planning for People Community Charter Coalition Spokesperson, Corinne Fisher (who is also Convenor of the Better Planning Network), said the charter was a community-focused mission statement that insists upon the right of the people in NSW to have a say in development and does not allow planning processes to be subverted by shady deals. “The charter would restore the right of all people to appeal planning decisions [which] is an important anti-corruption mechanism,” Ms Fisher said.
The charter – and its companion document – details the principles and expected outcomes of a good planning system, and says how the charter can be implemented. In a concerted push toward an overhaul of the way planning is done in NSW, the charter insists upon Ecologically Sustainable Development, public participation in the planning process and transparency, while recognising a sound knowledge-base maintained by the government in the public interest as the “foundation stone” of a good planning system.
Flanked by multiple community organisations at the launch, including the Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development, Community Councillors’ Network and National Trust of Australia (NSW), Ms Fisher called on all candidates and parties contesting the NSW state election in March 2015 to sign up to the charter and commit to its vision. “We want environmental protection, not over-development. We want genuine community participation. And we don’t want corruption!” Ms Fisher said.
At the conclusion of the launch, both Labor and the Greens endorsed the charter, with Luke Foley, the Shadow Minister for Planning and the Environment, and David Shoebridge, the Greens’ spokesperson for Planning, speaking in support. Independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, and Labor candidate for Newtown, Penny Sharpe, also gave strong support to the charter.