The State-wide Planning Principles which were introduced in early December 2021, and commenced operation on 1 March 2022, have been discontinued.
The former Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, the Hon Rob Stokes, introduced the Planning Principles with the stated intention of making statutory planning simpler, more consistent and more transparent. The Planning Principles were to be integrated into the State's strategic plans and planning instruments, which provide the key planning and development controls in NSW.
They emphasise sustainable development (particularly climate change mitigation and adaptation, and enhanced resilience), place-based thinking, integration of infrastructure, affordable housing, the conservation and management of natural resources, and early and sustained engagement with Aboriginal people.
However, with housing affordability now facing unprecedented challenges, the housing supply pipeline currently critically short, and international borders reopening, the NSW Government's focus on supporting the supply of new homes has sharpened.
The current Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes, the Hon Anthony Roberts, announced on 14 March that the Planning Principles are being discontinued, and he has revoked the Ministerial direction giving effect to them.
"The Premier has given me a very clear priority – delivering more homes and our principles must help me deliver on that priority," Mr Roberts said.
The Minister commented further that any principles must help in delivering the government's clear objective for the planning system – boosting the supply of new homes and housing affordability.
Given that the Planning Principles were in force for only two weeks, they had not yet been integrated into the Government's strategic plans and planning instruments.
The Minister's announcement highlights the importance he is placing on the delivery of housing supply. This, combined with his recent announcements such as the establishment of a Regional Housing Flying Squad to help clear development approvals more quickly, indicates that the Government is aiming to accelerate the pace of development assessments and determinations, and clear post-approval log jams.