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Australian Cities: The things we don't talk about

Dec 2010

The Commonwealth government has just released another discussion paper on Australian Cities, State of Australian Cities 2010. The latest city paper is replete with all those clichéd hopes that have peppered urban policy papers for decades For years the same hopes have been stated. Nobody writes why it is that those hopes are not realised. If we had some real analysis, we might see some real solutions.

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Panels, Hearing Bodies and Assessment Commissions

Sep 2009

There is precious little public policy theory underlying the Department’s grab-bag of proposals for the reform of the Planning system. As the inventor of most of the models that make up the proposals about decision making, I feel I should attempt to provide some theoretical and historical background.

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Councils, Panels and the Minister-The Institutional Design of the NSW Planning System

Sep 2009

The recent ‘reforms’ to the planning system of NSW have seen a significant centralization of power in the hands of the Minister and appointed rather than elected officials. There are real problems of potential and actual conflicts of interest, a lack of due processes and transparent procedures and therefore an increased perception of undue influence. The consequence is likely to be a continuing loss of community trust in the administration of the planning system.

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Corruption risks in NSW development approval processes

Jul 2009

A 12-page submission by John Mant. The problems of the approval processes are that both the processes and the institutions that undertake them are not suited for the tasks in hand. There are problems because there are institutional faults in the system that need fixing. When an ex-Premier of the State behaves in a manner so clearly contrary to public sector ethics, it is difficult to solve institutionalised conflicts of interest by merely calling on councillors and officials, or, for that matter, the Minister, to nonetheless do their best to behave ethically. The real solutions must lie, not in further exhortation, but in fixing the essential faults in the system that give rise to the conflicts of interests and roles and therefore raise the risks of wrongdoing.

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Response to Evidence of Mr. Haddad, Director General Dept of Planning

May 2009

The evidence given by Mr. Haddad to the Legislative Council Inquiry on the NSW Planning System regarding the relative virtues of the standard form Liverpool LEP using a land use zoning format and the parcel/place formatted Warringah LEP which is modeled on the South Australian system may have unwittingly mislead the Committee. It is understood that in comparing the two LEPs Mr Haddad held up the two documents and noted their relative length. The issue of the relative length of control documents was also referred to in written answers to question 11. In his answers it seems that Mr. Haddad has unintentially mislead the Committee. As my response will explain, the comparisons he made were not like with like.

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Inquiry into the New South Wales planning framework

Feb 2009

A submission by John Mant, Planner and non-practicing lawyer. It is submitted that the current Planning legislation (Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979) was fundamentally flawed from the beginning. The many attempts at reform have made things worse rather than better. The system has deteriorated because those attempting reform have refused to first recognize and then deal with the fundamental flaws. While some of the attempted reforms in themselves may have been reasonable, by being layered over a flawed framework, all too often they have had adverse results, adding to the complexities and the lack of transparency.

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Comment on Proposed Reforms to the SA Planning System

Sep 2008

A 16-page commentary by John Mant.While there are few recommendations one could support, the whole package is disappointing. There is little to suggest that the consultants understood the SA systems, or the particular planning challenges facing SA.

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Place management as a core role in government

Mar 2008

A 9-page article in the Journal of Place Management and Development by John Mant. This paper aims to deal with place management, not as an additional function to traditional silo organisations, but as a core part of government that has been restructured to achieve complex outcomes, such as place management.

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Recent Reforms of the NSW Planning System

Mar 2008

A raft of reforms to the NSW planning system has added many new sections to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the Act). More is not less, unless now you are able to bring your development in under the new Part 3A which allows the Minister to give consent with discretion unbounded by much of the large pile of existing planning and environmental controls. Instead of fixing the holes, bumps and dead ends in the existing systems, the reforms have created a by-pass expecting a relatively trouble free ride for those able to get past the gatekeeper at the turn-off.

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Letter to Frank Sartor, Minister for Planning

Feb 2008

From the Local Government Association of NSW and Shires Association of NSW.

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