Posted on April 2, 2015 by Megan Hawley

New Ministers and Planning Reform Back on the Agenda?

Newly re-elected Premier Mike Baird has undertaken a cabinet reshuffle resulting in new Ministers for the Environment and Planning.

Rob Stokes, the former Minister for the Environment, is the new Minister for Planning and Mark Speakman, new to the cabinet, is the new Minister for the Environment.

The Australian Financial Review is reporting that ‘sources in the government have said they are eager to revisit’ planning reform, given the ‘more favourable‘ upper house.

We published many blogs on the Planning Bill 2013 (and the green and white papers leading up to the drafting and introduction of the Bill into parliament), the last being on 28 November 2013 when the then Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard announced that the government  would consider the amendments made to the Bill in the Legislative Council (see Planning Bill in the Balance). The Bill has not progressed since then.

It remains to be seen whether, if planning reform is back on the agenda, it will be in the same or similar form to the Bill.

As Minister for the Environment, Rob Stokes also announced late last year changes to coastal management legislation (see Coastal Reform – Has the Tide Finally Turned) . It is hoped that those reforms will not be lost with the reshuffle. As the new Minister for the Environment is also Assistant Planning Minister, perhaps the two Ministers can work together to achieve the ‘better fit’ between planning, local government and coastal management legislation which was promised last year.

Paul Toole remains Minister for Local Government.