Blue Mountains councillors who attended last week’s Local Government NSW conference in Sydney said they were heartened to see strong support for motions calling on the state government to strengthen community participation in its planning reforms.
Clrs Romola Hollywood, Don McGregor, Chris Van der Kley and Brendan Christie said there was agreement any changes to planning legislation should retain a “triple bottom line” focus that strikes the right balance between economic, social and environmental considerations.
“There are deeply held concerns within local government that the planning reforms are tipping the scales in favour of development without sufficient attention to what this means for community livability and the environment sustainability,” Clr Hollywood said.
Clr McGregor said while the conference was a success on that level, it was disappointing
many metropolitan council delegates left for the remainder, depriving the conference of an adequate quorum to debate other important matters.
“This was the first time the local government sector has been able to speak with a single voice and it was a pity an otherwise successful conference had not been able to deal with all the important issues on the agenda,” he said.
Clr Hollywood said one of the items that missed out was a motion submitted by Blue Mountains City Council expressing opposition to recreational hunting in national parks.
“It would have been great to see how many councils shared this view,” she said.
“The trial of recreational hunting in 12 national parks in NSW commences this month.
“Not only has this legislation been dogged with controversy regarding the Game Council’s capacity to administer the legislation, it is a flawed policy that has no evidence that it will reduce feral animal populations.
“What it will reduce is the safety for visitors and workers in national parks.”