Changes to NSW environment and planning agencies & ministers

August 2014

Following the appointment of Mike Baird as Premier of New South Wales, there have been several changes to the NSW environment and planning agencies and ministers. The key changes relate to the formation of the new environmental and planning cluster (Cluster) and its associated entities, and the abolition of the position of Director-General.

The Cluster

The former Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DoPI) has now been renamed the Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E). Under the new Cluster arrangement, the following agencies operate:

  • Central Coast Regional Development Corporation
  • Hunter Development Corporation
  • Luna Park Reserve Trust
  • Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
  • Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH)
  • Office of Local Government
  • UrbanGrowth NSW.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) also falls within the Cluster, and is also a separate statutory authority (since 2012).

The Director-General

The changes abolished the position of Director-General of the former DoPI. Any reference to the Director is now to be construed as a reference to the Secretary of the DP&E under s 7(2)(b) of the Administrative Arrangements (Administrative Changes - Ministers and Public Service Agencies) Order 2014.

The new role of Secretary will have wider responsibilities serving three Ministers: Minister for Planning, Minister for Environment and Heritage, and Minister for Local Government.

The Secretary will now perform the role of Director-General, for the purposes of assessing applications, issuing Director- General requirements, and granting consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EPA Act) and Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations 2000.

Similarly, the Secretary is the relevant authority to obtain concurrence before determining development consent under s79B of the EPA Act.

As of 29 July 2014, the Secretary for the DP&E is Carolyn McNally.

Please click here to view the current DP&E organisational chart.

Nicholas Brunton

I ask myself: What would I want if I was a client? Then I deliver.

Nicholas Brunton Partner

Nicholas is one of Australia's leading environmental lawyers. He is a trusted adviser to his clients in all areas of land use and development, planning, valuation and compulsory acquisition, environmental, mining and natural resources law.

In addition to degrees in law and geography, Nicholas has a PhD in planning and environmental law from the University of Sydney. His expertise is recognised by his appointment to the Board of Water NSW, the advisory Board of the Macquarie University Centre for Environmental Law, and the Advisory Board of Australian Centre for Climate Change and Environment Law at the University of Sydney. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Property Institute, lectures at the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales and has over 30 peer reviewed publications on a wide range of topics in environmental, planning and valuation law and environmental economics.

Nicholas's clients include a large number of government agencies along with major financial institutions, mining and construction companies, property developers and fund managers.

He has extensive experience in all forms of planning and environmental litigation in the Land and Environment Court and Court of Appeal. In particular, he is a recognised leading practitioner in all aspects of valuation and compensation law and acts for a wide range of State Government agencies and landowners, including acting in over 100 compensation and valuation cases in the Land and Environment Court and Court of Appeal.

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