Greens release planning policy for council elections at Sutherland

Shire policy launch: David Shoebridge (left), Nathan Hunt and Lee Rhiannon. Picture:John Veage
Shire policy launch: David Shoebridge (left), Nathan Hunt and Lee Rhiannon. Picture:John Veage

The Greens have never had a representative on Sutherland Shire Council, but Nathan Hunt says that could change on September 10.

Mr Hunt is the Greens lead candidate for A Ward, and Jonathan Doig is the party’s number one representative in B Ward.

Mr Hunt was speaking after the launch at Sutherland of the Greens’ planning policy for the local government elections.

Greens MP and spokesman on planning and local government David Shoebridge launched the policy, and Senator Lee Rhiannon also attended the event.

Mr Hunt said of the party’s prospects in the shire, “It’s hard to say, but I think we have got a chance – an outside chance, I admit – to get at least one candidate elected”.

“The feeling out there is overdevelopment is the big issue.

“Everyone is very concerned about having a Liberal controlled council, and I think that could encourage people to vote outside the majors.”

Mr Hunt said the Greens wanted to put planning back back into the hands of the community.

“Councils are elected to make decisions and I don’t think the current council is doing that,” he said.

Mr Shoebridge said good planning was “about far more than delivering profits to a handful of well-connected property developers”.

“In Sutherland Shire, we have seen a number of inappropriate developments approved that do not benefit the community,” he said.

“Things need to change.”

The policy includes five key planning principles, including, “Ensuring fair, full and effective public participation”.

“Despite a promise to return planning powers to communities, the NSW government has effectively sidelined community and environment groups in key planning decisions,” the document says.

The policy includes a “good local development test”, by which projects should be considered:

  • Will the environment be protected?
  • Will it bring social, economic and environmental benefits to the community?
  • Will it have enough open space, recreational facilities and make it easier to get around without a car?
  • Will it reduce energy consumption and help tackle climate change?
  • Have all reports been prepared by independent consultants or certifiers?
  • Has all the information on this development been made available to the public?
  • Has there been fair, full and effective public participation in the process?
  • Have we corruption-proofed this planning decision?