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Key developments

  • Proposed amendments to State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 and the Residential Flat Design Code
  • Senate inquiry into out of home care
  • Review of the stronger futures legislation package
  • Senate inquiry into the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014
  • Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Bail – additional show cause offences

Proposed amendments to State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 and the Residential Flat Design Code

The Environmental Planning and Development Committee (“committee”) considered proposed changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 – Design Quality of Residential Flat Development (“SEPP 65”) and the Residential Flat Design Code. The committee’s comments focused on the legal issues that arise from the exhibition documents and in particular, the need for legal clarity.

The Apartment Design Guide nominates some examples of “alternative solutions” for some performance criteria but not others.

This inconsistent approach, in the absence of clarifying text, makes it unclear whether there are implied limits to the types of alternative solutions that may be adopted to satisfy the performance criteria or whether all or some of the nominated acceptable solutions must be addressed.

It is unclear why there are three different approaches to resolving potential conflicts between the Apartment Design Guide and development control plans, depending on the subject matter. The committee suggests that the Department should pursue a simpler regime.

The committee recommends that the proposed changes are finalised quickly as consent authorities are obliged to consider any relevant proposed “environmental planning instrument” that is the subject of public consultation when assessing development applications. The committee also recommends the inclusion of a savings provision.

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