NSW Government announces broad expansion of exempt and complying development

NSW Premier Mike Baird today announced measures that expand exempt and complying development and remove local government entirely from the planning process - leaving only a minor administrative and compliance role.

“Barangaroo is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us,” the Premier said at a joint Urban Taskforce/Urban Development Institute breakfast overlooking the development site. “This is a site that has been neglected for centuries, satisfied maritime and mercantile needs for a growing city but is now ready for us to do something which is typically New South Wales and, more importantly, typically Sydney,” the Premier continued.

“For more than two decades both sides of politics in New South Wales have embraced a symbiotic relationship with the development industry. Governments have done what they can to get the regulators out of the way and leave it to the people who know best. Craig Knowles and Bob Carr were visionaries and we build on that vision today.

“All the great cities of the world have had visionaries given a clean sheet. Look at Paris, it would have been a crap city without the dramatic reconstruction initiated by another great political leader Emperor Napoleon the Third, and put in the hands of a bloke called Haussmann in the middle of the 19th century. It’s time to get rid of our equivalent of the peasant and low-life slums and let another Emperor reveal his vision.

“If there’s one thing I learned in my career in finance, it’s that rich people are rich for good reason. They know what they’re doing and while it sometimes looks like they are doing it for their own self-interest, they’ve earned that right and the benefits trickle down to all of us.

“I would like to acknowledge the Packer dynasty, our own nobility who, even today, properly treat the rest of us like serfs. If it wasn’t for the venerable Mr James Packer telling us that he would pull the pin on his magnificent gaming building if he didn’t get his own way, I would not have had the epiphany, the blinding light on the road to Damascus, as I have had and which I will deliver to the people of NSW.

“The government will establish a new planning authority for Greater Sydney, overriding all local government boundaries, and limited only by the Great Dividing Range and the Queensland and Victorian borders. This new authority will simply be called the AJW - an abbreviation I like for “Anything James Wants”. The private sector will staff it, develop policy and have unfettered access to our foreshores to create something to make us proud. I will appoint the inestimable Chris Johnson, former NSW Government Architect and luminary who can do the job and still remain CEO of the Urban Taskforce. That will make things much more efficient.

“I know that the proposals by Mr Packer have been regarded as alienating the public from public land, but that’s just a petty complaint from the jealous and less worthy. I have no problem with phallic construction, because after all, I have a phallus and I’m surrounded by other people who do as well. The Honourable and venerable Mr Packer should build the biggest he can get his hands on and make it a real monument to his vision, personal taste and his dynasty.

“I can see a giant Mariah Carey, straddling the North and South Heads, our equivalent of the Colossus of Rhodes, and what a striking entrance to our beautiful city and the paradise beyond. Emperor Packer tells me he wants to share a glimpse of heaven, as we all sail through the heads.

“Now it’s time for the tasteless, ignorant and poor people of Sydney to get out of the way.”

The Premier’s announcement was greeted with horror by Sydneysiders but welcomed by the UDIA and the Urban Task force. Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson said “it’s about bloody time we got the community out of planning and put local government back in its correct place, keeping out of the way of those of us who want to build a modern city. No more section 94 arguments for us developers, there won’t be a section 94.”

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