PLANNING Minister Rob Stokes says he is considering introducing a planning body similar to the Greater Sydney Commission in the Hunter.
Speaking in Newcastle on Wednesday, the minister addressed concerns about the draft Regional Hunter Plan, which has been criticised by both the local government and industry sectors since it was released late last year.
Submissions to the plan closed last month, and the department received more than 200 responses.
Industry groups like the Property Council have criticised the draft regional plan for falling into the same trap as the previous document by failing to lock in timelines on enabling infrastructure or make any singular body responsible for delivering on the plan’s goals.
In March, InSite Planning Services’ Planning Director, Stephen Leathley, criticised the plan for being “glossy documents with lots of planning jargon and PR spin that don’t really mean much”.
Mr Leathley urged the government to introduce a Sydney commission model to the Hunter.
On Wednesday Mr Stokes would “certainly” look at introducing such a body.
“We can see how the Greater Sydney Commission is working and can certainly apply the lessons from that to get the best possible fit for the Hunter,” Mr Stokes said.
He said the need for “clear governance coordination” in the Hunter had been heard by the government
“That’s something we’re keen to do with our own government processes in terms of the future role of the Hunter Investment Infrastructure Fund, the Hunter Development Corporation and UrbanGrowth,” Mr Stokes said.
“The other area of criticism was relating to infrastructure funding and the best way to ensure the plan actually comes to fruition by ensuring the enabling infrastructure is provided.
“I’ll have more to say about that in the coming weeks but suffice to say we’re alive to that criticism.”
Mr Stokes was also asked about the progress on a full concept plan for UrbanGrowth’s rail corridor revitalisation plans, which were expected to be lodged early this year.
He said the arrival of the plan was “imminent”.