Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 No 203
Division 2.5 Local planning panels
2.17 Constitution of local planning panels
(1) A council may constitute a single local planning panel for the whole of the area of the council.(2) The following councils must constitute a single local planning panel for the whole of the area of the council:(a) the council of an area that is wholly within the Greater Sydney Region,(b) the council of the City of Wollongong,(c) the council of any other area prescribed by the regulations.(3) A single local planning panel may be constituted by 2 or more councils. In that case, any function exercisable by a council in relation to the panel is to be exercised jointly by all those councils.(4) The Minister may, under section 9.1, direct 2 or more particular councils referred to in subsection (2) to constitute a single local planning panel.(5) If a council fails to constitute a local planning panel that it is required to constitute, the Minister may constitute the panel and for that purpose is taken to be the council.(6) A local planning panel is subject to any directions of the Minister under section 9.1.(7) A local planning panel is not subject to the direction or control of the council, except in relation to any matter relating to the procedure of the panel (or to the time within which it is to deal with a matter) that is not inconsistent with any directions of the Minister under section 9.1.
2.18 Members of local planning panels
(1) The members of a local planning panel are to be appointed by the relevant council.(2) Each local planning panel is to comprise (subject to this section) the following 4 members:(a) an approved independent person appointed as the chairperson of the panel with relevant expertise that includes expertise in law or in government and public administration,(b) 2 other approved independent persons with relevant expertise,(c) a representative of the local community who is not a councillor or mayor.(3) A person is not eligible to be a member of a local planning panel constituted by a council if the person is:(a) a councillor of that or any other council, or(b) a property developer within the meaning of section 53 of the Electoral Funding Act 2018, orNote.Section 53 of the Electoral Funding Act 2018 provides that property developer includes a person who is a close associate of a property developer.(c) a real estate agent within the meaning of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002.However, a person is not ineligible to be a member of a local planning panel merely because the person carries on the business of a planning consultant.(4) For the purposes of this section, an approved independent person is an independent person approved by the Minister for appointment to the local planning panel or a person selected from a pool of independent persons approved by the Minister for appointment to the local planning panel. The Minister may approve different pools of independent persons.(5) If the area of the relevant council is divided into wards, the council is to appoint representatives of the local community for each ward as members of the local planning panel. All those representatives are entitled to attend a meeting of the local planning panel, but only one of them designated by the chairperson of the panel comprises the quorum for the meeting and is entitled to vote and be heard on a matter before the panel.(6) The representative so designated by the chairperson for a matter before the panel is to be the representative for the ward that the chairperson considers is most closely associated with that matter.(7) Relevant expertise for the purposes of this section is expertise in at least one area of planning, architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism or government and public administration.
2.19 Functions of local planning panels
(1) A local planning panel constituted by a council has the following functions:(a) the specified functions of a council as a consent authority under Part 4 that are conferred on it under this Act,(b) to advise the council on any planning proposal that has been prepared or is to be prepared by the council under section 3.33 and that is referred to the panel by the council,(c) to advise the council on any other planning or development matter that is to be determined by the council and that is referred to the panel by the council.(2) The Minister may give directions to councils under section 9.1 (either to particular councils or to councils generally) on the planning proposals that are required to be referred to a local planning panel for advice.(3) This section does not limit the functions that may be exercised by a local planning panel under this Act.
2.20 Miscellaneous provisions relating to local planning panels
(1) Schedule 2 contains provisions with respect to the members and procedure of local planning panels.(2) A local planning panel is required to give written reasons for its decisions and make them publicly available on a website of or used by the panel. A decision is not invalid merely because of a failure to give or publish the reasons or all of the reasons for the decision.(3) The regulations may make provision for or with respect to the following:(a) the functions conferred under this Act on local planning panels, including the procedures of panels in exercising their functions,(b) without limiting paragraph (a), providing that parties are not to be represented (whether by an Australian legal practitioner or any other person) or are only to be represented in specified circumstances,(c) the provision of information or reports by councils with respect to the exercise of functions by local planning panels.(4) The council is to provide staff and facilities for the purpose of enabling a local planning panel to exercise its functions.(5) The council is to monitor the performance of local planning panels constituted by the council.(6) A council that has constituted a local planning panel must provide a report to the Planning Secretary, each year or other period directed by the Planning Secretary, as to the following:(a) whether a local planning panel had been constituted by the council during the reporting period,(b) the matters referred to the panel in the reporting period,(c) the persons appointed to the panel,(d) any other matters relating to the exercise of functions by the panel as directed by the Planning Secretary.(7) Legal proceedings by or against a local planning panel are to be taken in the name of the panel and not by or against the members of the panel.(8) A local planning panel may delegate any function of the panel under this or any other Act (other than this power of delegation) to the general manager or other staff of the council. Section 381 of the Local Government Act 1993 does not apply to any such delegation.(9) For the avoidance of doubt, a member of a local planning panel is a public official for the purposes of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.