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Parliamentary committee public hearing resurrected

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Just three weeks after public hearings about Lower Clarence developments before the Portfolio No 7 committee of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the Planning system and the impacts of Climate Change on the Environment and Communities were scrapped, they have been resurrected, delighting community groups.

Locals were disappointed when they were informed that a public hearing scheduled to be held at Yamba, on May 31, was scrapped, and there would be no hearings conducted concerning developments between Port Macquarie and the Tweed, in seats held by Nationals or Greens members.

This was despite seven public hearings already being held by the committee since March 2024, two in NSW Parliament House, plus hearings at Dee Why, Campbelltown, Gosford, Bega, and Nowra, in seats occupied by Labor members, except Dee Why which is held by a Liberal.

But last Friday afternoon, Yamba CAN Inc. was informed by the committee that a hearing concerning Lower Clarence developments will be held next week.

Yamba CAN Inc. Chair, Col Shephard said the group was happy they will now get a chance to address the committee, as others around the state already have.

Yamba CAN representatives will be travelling to Sydney to attend the hearing in the Jubilee Room, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney, on June 17, at 11am.

“We welcome the invitation of now being given the opportunity of a hearing,” Mr Shephard said.

“Two representatives will be personally providing evidence at the hearing for the inquiry into the planning system and the impacts of climate change on the environment and communities.

“The two representatives are Lynne Cairns, Secretary of Yamba CAN Inc, and Helen Tyas Tunggal, member of Yamba CAN Inc.”

Members of the Committee are, Chair, Ms Sue Higginson – Greens MLC, Deputy Chair Mr John Ruddick – Libertarian MLC, Mark Buttigieg – Labor MLC, Anthony D’Adam – Labor MLC, Scott Farlow — Liberal MLC, Jacqui Munro – Liberal MLC, and Peter Primrose – Labor MLC.

The Terms of Reference of the committee are to “inquire into and report on how the planning system can best ensure that people and the natural and built environment are protected from climate change impacts and changing landscapes, and in particular”

(a)Developments proposed or approved:

(i) in flood and fire prone areas or areas that have become more exposed to natural disasters as a result of climate change,
(ii) in areas that are vulnerable to rising sea levels, coastal erosion or drought conditions as a result of climate change, and
(iii) in areas that are threatened ecological communities or habitat for threatened species.

(b) The adequacy of planning powers and planning bodies, particularly for local councils, to review, amend or revoke development approvals, and consider the costs, that are identified as placing people or the environment at risk as a consequence of:

(i) the cumulative impacts of development,
(ii) climate change and natural disasters,
(iii) biodiversity loss, and
(iv) rapidly changing social, economic and environmental circumstances.

(c) Short-, medium- and longterm planning reforms that may be necessary to ensure that communities are able to mitigate and adapt to conditions caused by changing environmental and climatic conditions, as well as the community’s expectation and need for homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

(d) Alternative regulatory options to increase residential dwelling capacity where anticipated growth areas are no longer deemed suitable, or where existing capacity has been diminished due to the effects of climate change.

(e) Listening to, and learning from, Aboriginal voices and experiences to better inform planning outcomes

(f) Any other related matters.

The CV Independent is waiting to be informed about whether we can listen to, and report on, the hearing. 

Clarence Valley Independent 12 June 2024

This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 12 June 2024.

Related story: Outrage after public hearings scrapped

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