Planning reform in doubt as MPs refuse to negotiate

The state government’s signature planning reforms appear dead in the water, because key crossbenchers say they will not negotiate with a new-look cabinet.

Shooters and Fishers MP Robert Borsak said incoming Planning Minister Pru Goward should ‘‘go back to the drawing board’’ rather than try to revive stalled talks about the government’s draft legislation.

‘‘We’ve told them to rethink it and come up with a new proposal after the next election,’’ Mr Borsak said.

‘‘In its current form, it’s not negotiable.’’ Mr Borsak said.

Touted as the biggest shake-up of planning in more than 30 years, the overhaul of the state’s planning system has been in limbo since November when Labor and the minor parties forced major changes in the upper house.

A new fast-tracked development pathway known as ‘‘code assessment’’ was among the measures stripped from the proposed laws.

The government has not been prepared to cede defeat by either accepting the revised bill or scrapping it entirely, despite negotiations reaching a deadlock under outgoing Planning Minister Brad Hazzard.

Labor’s planning spokesman Luke Foley said Ms Goward’s first task would be to decide whether to accept the amended bill, withdraw it or to try and negotiate further.

‘‘It’s now been five months since the legislative council returned the planning bill to the lower house,’’ he said.

‘‘Hopefully Pru Goward can do what Brad Hazzard couldn’t do and choose one of the options.’’

But Mr Foley said ‘‘at this stage’’ Labor was similarly not prepared to negotiate any more changes to the bill.

"The onus is on the government to respond to the legislative council's amendments,'' Mr Foley said.

''If and when they do respond, we'll then consider that response.''

A spokesman for Ms Goward said she was yet to be sworn in or receive briefings on her new portfolio but understood the ''community concern''.

''She understands there is community concern about getting the planning reforms right and she'll be very keen to listen to the views of everyone involved and work towards getting the balance right,'' the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the Greens warned the government was on a ‘‘collision course’’ with the upper house after failing to detail its dealings with lobbyists while drafting the proposed laws.

The documents were required to be produced under a call for papers by Wednesday – the same day former Premier Barry O’Farrell resigned.

“I expect a majority of members in the House will take this failure very seriously and consider all options available to hold this government to account,” Greens planning spokesman, David Shoebridge, said.

A spokesman for Premier Mike Baird said the government had advised the Clerk of Parliament it would be raising the matter with the upper house when parliament resumes in May.

It had received advice from the Solicitor General that it could query or dispute an order that was too broad or had an impractical deadline, he said.

The story Planning reform in doubt as MPs refuse to negotiate first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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