Planning review overview 2022

Understanding the Planning Review is not easy. General information presentation introduced the ACT Planning Bill 2022 at a high level. Legal documents are very detailed and written in Legalese and therefore hard to fully comprehend. Understanding of the Planning Review process is a good place to start. Below are selected slides from the Planning Bill Presentation.

The Planning System Review is a long project. It started about 2 years ago. The consultation from 2021 showed that small changes were insufficient. The public opinion was that the old check list planning system did not cut it. Developers gamed the system to push through developments – and the outcomes of the developments were generally unfavourable. In late 2021, Minister Gentleman decided it was time to rewrite the ACT Planning and Development Act 2007. The new Planning Bill 2022 is outcomes focused. What we see coming in 2022 are the new Planing Bill, the new Territory Plan and District Strategies. The new Planing Act should be passed in 2023.

Planning Review Timeline - currently, the 2022 ACT Planning Bill is undergoing consultation. The Territory Plan and District Strategies follow in late 2022.
Planning Review Timeline – currently, the 2022 ACT Planning Bill is undergoing consultation. The Territory Plan and District Strategies follow in late 2022.

The Planning Bill 2022 is the main document and is the biggest (342 pages). The Planning Bill refers to General Developments and Exempt Development. Exempt Developments do not require development assessment (a Development Application). So how do we know that the development is exempted from the DA process? Due to the complexity of our planning law, it is not easy to say. Therefore, a simple assessment process is proposed to determine this. Exempt Developments are mostly small stuff.

The three track development assessment process has been dropped for a single “General” development process. The EIS process has also been simplified. Increased transparency of the process and better access to public information are other measures under the bill.

What is an “object”? The second half of the Planning Bill 2022 is very similar to the ACT Planning and Development Act 2007 and improvements are “light touch”. The first half is new and reflects the change to a planning system with an outcomes focus. What an “outcomes” planning system means is described under the Principles for Good Planning. The principles include livability, sustainability, wellbeing, accessibility, and community participation.

The Principles for Good Planning are listed below and outlined in more detail here.

  • Activation and liveability
  • high quality design
  • integrated delivery
  • investment facilitation
  • long-term focus
  • urban regeneration
  • sustainability and resilience
  • natural environment conservation.

The Principles of Good Consultation are currently not in the Planning Bill but may be added. Considering the great interest of the community in the consulting process we may see changes here. Currently, it is a blank sheet.

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