Changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021, which commences on 3 April 2023, require local councils to have a Conflicts of Interest Policy for Council-related Development Applications and to consider the policy in determining any such development applications (DAs).
Council-related development applications are those made by Council, or over Council owned/controlled lands. This includes a DA lodged by a third party over Council land.
Councils undertake development for a variety of reasons. This may be as simple as building a new bus shelter or upgrading a local playground, or as complex as a major redevelopment of community infrastructure, such as a public swimming pool or showground. Councils may also, on occasion, undertake development to achieve a social outcome, such as providing more housing or to support economic stimulus through commercial investment, such as the upgrade of the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange.
The draft policy aims to ensure that any potential conflicts of interest arising from Council being the applicant and/or landowner and the Consent Authority are effectively managed. Although the regulation only requires councils to address conflicts of interest at the development application stage, Council has chosen to extend the scope of its draft policy to consider all phases of a development – from application preparation, assessment, determination, post consent certification through to regulatory compliance. This aims to achieve transparency throughout the process.
The Draft Policy also considers:
• Managing conflicts of interest in circumstances where Council may own/control adjoining land to a proposed development or have a commercial interest associated with that development
• Incorporating conflicts of interest risk management strategies into the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for development without consent.
In addition to the policy requirements, all Council-related development applications, irrespective of the conflicts of interest risk, must be publicly exhibited for a minimum of 28 days and have the risks and measures to be taken recorded in the Development Register.
The attached draft Managing Conflicts of Interest for Council-related Development Policy (CPOL15.22) has been prepared in accordance with the Council-related Development Application Conflict of Interest Guidelines produced by the Department of Planning and Environment (also attached).
Submissions – Any person may make a written submission during the exhibition period by sending it to Richmond Valley Council by:
• post to – Locked Bag 10 Casino NSW 2470
• email – email@example.com
• hand delivery – at either of Council’s Customer Service Centres in Casino and Evans Head
• online submission – by completing an online submission form via Council’s website.
Please note comments on social media posts are not considered submissions.
Submissions close at COB Wednesday, 8 March 2023.