Four community and business leaders have been appointed to chair the Sydney Planning Panels to help make decisions on major development proposals.

The chairs have commenced their roles following a rigorous selection process.

The new Planning Panel Chairs are:

  • Carl Scully — Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel
  • Justin Doyle — Sydney Western City Planning Panel
  • Professor Helen Lochhead — Sydney South Planning Panel
  • Peter Debnam — Sydney North Planning Panel

The Department of Planning and Environment’s Executive Director of Regions, Steve Murray, said the new chairs will bring a high level of expertise to the panels.

“After careful consideration, the Sydney Planning Panels have been appointed new chairs, having demonstrated that they have the skills, experience and acumen that makes them the top picks for the job,” Mr Murray said.

“The decisions made by the Sydney Planning Panels will be independent and based on the merits of the proposals that are put before them.”

The new chair of the Sydney Central Planning Panel is in the final stages of appointment and is expected to be determined in late January/early February 2018.  

The five independent Sydney Planning Panels make decisions about significant development proposals in their region.

The new chairs have been appointed because the roles of Sydney Planning Panel Chair and District Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission have been separated.

“The separation of these roles will allow the district commissioners to focus on setting the strategic direction for their district through the Greater Sydney Commissions’ district plans,” Mr Murray said.

“The new chairs will also be able to focus entirely on the detailed development proposals that come before them for decision by the planning panels.”

The appointments followed a comprehensive, statewide expression of interest process and consideration of 70 applications by a selection panel.

The planning panels are independent bodies that make decisions on significant developments and modification applications.

Currently, the projects they assess are valued over $20 million but from the 1 March 2018 that threshold will be increased to $30 million.

The panels also act as the relevant planning authority in some decisions when directed by the Minister for Planning or the Greater Sydney Commission, undertake rezoning reviews, and provide advice on planning and development matters when requested. 

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