The City of Canada Bay Council - T. McNamara

4 July 2014
Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal
PO Box Q290
QVB Post Office
NSW 1230
Dear Madam or Sir,
RE: Review of Local government Compliance and Enforcement
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the summary findings of the above
review. The concept of achieving savings through Red Tape reduction is supported
by the City of Canada Bay Council (CCBC).
I wish to make the following comments on some of the draft recommendations
contained in your Fact Sheet dated May 2014.
1. A new partnership between State Government and local government.
The partnership model cited here is the Food Regulation Partnership, which
appears to be a case of the State Government creating powers and then handing
the job over to Local Government with funding to be achieved through inspection
fees and fines. Under that model, the State Government retains revenue achieved
from State taxes and levies, GST etc., and the job is transferred to Local
Government. The model as such is not a great example.
In respect of the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, substantial red
tape could be cut through simplifying the process of Local Plan Making. For
example, once a Planning Proposal passes through the Gateway process, the rest
of the process can be handled by Councils. There are plenty of Directions and
Controls to guide the process to ensure Councils do not stray from the correct
path. If necessary, statutory recognition could be given to Certified Practicing
Planners (CPP) to certify that correct process has been followed and all Directions
have been complied with. Under the existing process, an otherwise complying
Plan can be held up in the Department of Planning due to processes that are not
explained, possibly because they are unexplainable.
Canada Bay Civic Centre Drummoyne
1a Marlborough Street Drummoyne NSW 2047
Locked Bag 1470 Drummoyne NSW 1470
ABN 79 130 029 350
Tel 9911 6555 * Fax 9911 6550
[email protected]
DX 21021 Drummoyne
2. The NSW EPA engage in a Partnership Model similar to the Food Regulation
See comments above on Food Regulation Partnership.
3. Improving the regulatory framework at the State level.
An area of regulation that could be improved significantly is the imposition of
State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs). The NSW Planning Review was
intended to resolve this issue, but that review appears to have stalled.
The issue is that Local Government is required to undertake substantial studies
and investigations to establish planning controls on a primarily spatial basis.
SEPPs are applied as a higher level control which are policy based and which
apply wherever there is a conflict with the lower level Local Plan. The SEPPs are
usually well intentioned and aimed to achieve social or infrastructure outcomes
that are difficult to achieve under Local Plans. Examples are Aged and Disabled
Housing, Affordable Housing, including boarding houses and low rental housing.
Communities often react poorly by what they consider an intrusion into their
otherwise serene and homogeneous environment, with the added justification that
their objection is supported by a Local Planning instrument that would prohibit the
proposed development if it were not for the SEPP.
Councils and Council staff are left with the absurd situation of fighting
permissible development that is notionally “prohibited” because a) local
instruments are not permitted to duplicate controls that originate in a higher order
instrument, and b) the “closed” nature of many planning tables in Standard
Template Planning Instruments which are structured to make “prohibited” all
development which is not otherwise identified as “permissible with consent” or
“permissible without consent”. There is a real need to review the way that Local
and State Planning instruments interact to overcome this area of inherent conflict.
4. Agree
5. Agree
6. Agree and in addition develop a Code for dealing with Nuisance or vexatious
litigants to be adopted voluntarily by Local Government, but giving statutory
recognition to processes adopted by Local Government when dealing with such
customers, and to be recognised by the NSW Ombudsman.
7. Agree
8. Agree
9. Agree
10. Agree
11. Agree
12. Agree generally with amendments to Local Government Act 1993 with the
following exceptions;
a) Footpath licences should not be subject to automatic renewals. In CCBC,
Council requires all footpath dining operators to produce a certificate of
structural suitability where they are located under a shop awning. In CCBC
there have been a number of awning collapses over the years, thankfully with
no fatalities to date. Council has advised all awning owners of their
responsibilities under the Roads Act, and insists a current engineers’ certificate
is provided when licencees are renewed. Automatic renewals would place
diners at risk.
b) S68 approvals issued by a Council may contain conditions eg requiring mobile
vendors not to sell goods in a shopping centre. The acceptable conditions may
vary between Councils.
13. Agree.
14. Agree.
15. Agree but also insist in this “devolving “ process that Cost Shifting which is a
constant issue with State/Local Government relations be properly identified and
adequate compensation be provide to Local Government.
16. Agree.
17. Agree.
18. Agree.
19. Agree.
20. Generally agree, without making it too hard to apply additional requirements. As
an example, CCBC requires developers of new buildings to supply hydraulic
analysis for stormwater management at Development Application (DA) stage to
Construction Certificate (CC) standard. The reason is that, being an older area of
Sydney, the trunk drainage is in many areas inadequate. Thus if these issues are
not properly sorted out at DA stage, the developer (often a home owner) can face
lengthy redesign at CC stage to accommodate detention tanks, or install costly
pump out systems, or change floor levels to accommodate flows. Leaving this
essential design element to CC stage requires a certifier and a builder to be aware
of local drainage peculiarities, which if missed is problematic for the home
owner/developer to fix later.
21. Agree.
22. Agree.
23. Agree.
24. Agree.
25. Agree.
26. Agree.
27. Agree.
28. Agree, but also allow for local requirements to be applied to the standard waste
management requirements.
29. Agree.
30. Agree.
31. Agree.
32. Agree.
33. Agree.
34. Agree.
35. Agree.
36. Agree.
37. Agree, subject to Councils being able to review lease fees, apply new conditions if
required, or terminate leases with adequate notice but no compensation. Also 10
years should be the maximum with Councils able to opt for a shorter period either
generally or for individual cases.
38. Disagree. This issue has not been raised as a problem and looks like new red tape
in itself.
39. Agree
Findings on Best Practice
1. Agree.
2. Not sure what these Acronyms mean but they are probably a good idea.
3. Agree.
4. Agree.
5. Agree.
6. Agree.
7. Agree.
8. Agree as long as there is no cost shifting to Local Government.
9. Agree.
10. Agree.
11. Agree.
12. Agree.
13. Agree.
14. Agree.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this review.
Yours faithfully,
Tony McNamara
Director Planning and Environment