The Independent Planning Commission recognises the importance of encouraging and promoting greater community participation throughout the planning system to achieving better outcomes for the people of NSW.
Community engagement and participation is an all-encompassing term which covers how we engage with stakeholders in our work under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), including when we make decisions on state significant development (SSD) applications. Those stakeholders include anyone who is affected by a development application or planning matter: individuals, community or interest groups, indigenous communities, applicants, peak industry bodies, businesses, local councils and state or federal government agencies.
Why is community participation important?
- It builds community confidence in the Commission’s processes and the state’s planning system more generally
- It provides access to community knowledge, ideas and expertise
- It provides the Commission with crucial information in order for it to make an informed decision
Our Community Participation Plan
The Commission's Community Participation Plan sets out clearly when and how you can participate in our processes, including when we make decisions on development applications.
It also sets out the Commission’s approach when engaging with communities across NSW and encouraging greater participation in our decision-making processes for SSD, which aims to be:
- Open, inclusive and informative: we will boost community participation by keeping the community up-to-date, promoting participation opportunities and seeking the community’s views; building strong partnerships with our community stakeholders; ensuring community engagement accurately captures the relevant views of the community; and conducting community engagement opportunities in a safe environment. We will ensure the community has the information it needs and the capacity to participate in a meaningful way. Embracing the values of inclusiveness and representation, the Commission will seek to break down barriers to participation and build the capacity and confidence of all groups to fully participate - including by reaching out to diverse groups of stakeholders who are representative of a full range of relevant interests.
- Easy and accessible: we will articulate clearly the purpose of any engagement and identify how and when the community can participate in the Commission’s functions; ensure information prepared for the Commission is clear, concise and relevant; ensure that information is also easily accessible to and seek input from groups who might find it difficult to participate in standard engagement activities (e.g. young and older people; people with disabilities; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background)
- Fair, honest and transparent: we will be honest and transparent by telling the community how it can influence the Commission’s decision-making process and the outcome. We will explain clearly and concisely how the community’s input was taken into consideration when a decision is made.