In response to the economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NSW building boom will accelerate. Bicycle NSW will seek to ensure this ‘fast-track’ for construction doesn’t increase the risk to riders.
NSW Laws To Increase Construction
The NSW government has accelerated the assessment for 24 projects, including the Snowy Hydro 2.0 scheme, schools, commercial and residential developments. This is an effort to increase employment and growth in the construction sector.
The difficulty is the new COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (NSW) included a Planning System Acceleration Program giving the NSW Planning Minister, the Hon. Rob Stokes MP, enhanced powers for the next 6-12 months. Under S.10.17, the Planning Minister will be able to:
“…authorise development to be carried out on land without the need for any approval under the Act or consent from any person…”
Construction Doesn't Need Parliament or Council Approval
Developments don’t need to be discussed anymore in parliament or with Councils. Normal processes where environmental, heritage and water issues are considered doesn’t apply. This also wipes out the process for considering the safety and active transport issues associated with developments.
“We appreciate the importance of economic recovery, but councils and the MPs who represent communities, play a vital role in raising the needs and issues that have to be considered for developments to be successful,” said General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.
“The Rozelle Interchange Project and Sydney and Newcastle’s light rail projects have shown us all what can happen when development projects neglect the safety of people,” said Bastien.
Bicycle NSW calls on the State Government to ensure communities, MP’s, riders and walkers are involved in consultation, and their advice is acted upon, to ensure these projects are successful, safe and a worthy investment on behalf of taxpayers.