Will the real Brad Hazzard please stand up

1997 vs 2013

Planning Minister Brad Hazzard MP is responsible for all of this. The Minister has been around a long time and watched Labor, with Minister Craig Knowles, crash through and reduce community consultation and environmental protections through the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Amendment) Bill 1997. You know, the piece of legislation which, amongst other things, introduced exempt and complying development and fostered private certifiers.

This is the legislation that depa and a selection of other local government and environmental groups fought so vigourously and, amongst other things, resulted in us being pilloried by Minister Knowles in his Second Reading speech on 15 October 1997 - claiming that our concerns that the White Paper “reforms would diminish opportunities for public participation and objection and would reduce the role of local government” were both “wrong and misrepresent the facts.” Gee Craig, history showed we were right.

But while we have had a consistent response to a cascade of reforming processes, others haven’t. Like Brad, for example. Sometimes it’s good to have a mind like a steel trap and lurking in our office was an extract from Hansard on 17 October 1997. Just sitting quietly and waiting for its moment in the sun. You can see the extract here, but here are some things Mr Hazzard said, and probably wishes he hadn’t:

  • The Minister the Urban Affairs and Planning would be concerned to find that the development next door to him has been constructed which he wished he had known was going to be built so that he could have some say in it. That is a key issue in respect of this legislation. It is about the community’s right to know what is happening in the local area.
  • There has to be more that satisfies local residents that they will have an ongoing say such that they can approve or not approve of a particular development on their very boundary.
  • The single biggest challenge for New South Wales is to get the planning right, such that our environment is protected.
  • The environment has to be an absolute priority.
  • We also want to ensure that the environment is given priority. What is the point in having jobs and development if people do not have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink water or to use in myriad other ways?
  • I was extremely disappointed that the Minister did not take into account community concern and environmental concern.
  • They are good. They are the protectors of the environment of New South Wales - an observation in relation to the Total Environment Centre and the Nature Conservation Council and we can’t wait to see what those two bodies say.
  • The Minister should hang his head in shame. He should have been embarrassed to introduce this legislation into this House.
  • But the legislation will not guarantee that any development undertaken by the Minister’s next-door neighbour will suit him. In effect, the Minister has killed community consultation.
  • When a private certifier is ticking off the boxes for some development next door to the Minister, the Minister will acknowledge that he got it wrong.
  • We will be out in the community with environmental groups making sure the world knows that the Carr Government has failed in appropriately marrying environmental protection with development.

Ooooh Minister, that’s a bit embarrassing. We like the old Brad and to use another of his quotes in that debate where he was referring to Craig Knowles, “the Minister is not a bad bloke, but he has simply got this legislation wrong”.

What is it about politicians? How can they get it right in 1997 and so obviously get it wrong in 2013? We challenge the Minister, what do you really think, what you said in 1997 or what you are saying now?

If you changed your mind, and the environment, and the community, and the rights of neighbours are now less important, please explain. We will publish your response unedited.

We do, however, reserve our rights on illustrating it.

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