DA’s Now To Go Through IHAP’s In All Sydney Councils

DA’s Now To Go Through IHAP’s In All Sydney Councils

New South Wales Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts

New South Wales Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton

IHAP’s To Be Introduced For All Sydney Councils

Victor P Taffa

Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAP’s) will become mandatory for all councils in Sydney and Wollongong to guard against corruption and lead to better local planning decisions.

Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, and Minister for Local Government, Gabrielle Upton, announced the Government would set clear criteria for which development applications (DA’s) are to go to the panels.

Mr. Roberts said that mandatory IHAP’s would bring expertise, transparency and integrity to the assessment of DA’s at the local level.

“It is essential the Government has a transparent and accountable process in place when assessing DA’s of significant value, when there is a conflict of interest for the council or developer, or when they are of a sensitive nature.” Mr. Roberts said.

“By making IHAP’s mandatory, local councils will be able to focus on providing community services, strategic plans and development controls for their local area.”

Mr. Roberts pointed out that Wollongong and 15 Sydney metropolitan councils were already successfully using IHAP’s on a voluntary basis.

New Bill will propose a standard model for IHAP’s comprise 3 independent expert members and a community member.

Community member will represent the geographical area within the LGA of the proposed development, to provide local perspective.

“Introducing IHAP’s provide additional safeguards, expertise and transparency into planning decisions.” Ms. Upton said.

“We expect these panels to give communities and ratepayers greater certainty about planning decisions.”

IHAP members will have to be expert in one or more of the following fields:

  • Architecture,
  • Economics,
  • Engineering,
  • Environment,
  • Government and public administration,
  • Heritage,
  • Law,
  • Planning,
  • Tourism,
  • Traffic and transport,
  • Urban design.
NSW Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton

NSW Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton








Chair must also have expertise in law or government and public administration.

Panel members themselves will be subject to statutory rules such as a compulsory code of conduct and operational procedures for the panels.

Further selection criteria will be outlined in the recruitment process.

Councils will be able to share a panel to improve efficiencies and in the regional parts of the state, panels would remain voluntary.

Local councils will still process most applications for individual houses or alterations to existing houses.