State Environmental Planning Policies
State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs)
Just as important a threat to transparent planning policy is the existence of State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs). These allow the exercise of centralised and potentially arbitrary power. These SEPPs can cover a range of areas from education and childcare, affordable housing, aged care to transport and regional development.
For some time, the use of SEPPs have allowed the State Government to exercise very significant planning powers with little accountability. Unlike legislation and regulations, SEPPs are issued with effectively no parliamentary scrutiny. Most vest very significant power in the Planning Minister.
In particular, there is little if any opportunity to challenge whether a Planning Minister’s decisions have been reached reasonably, having regard to the facts, or after due process.
No matter how arbitrary a decision may seem, how capricious the exercise of power may be, how tainted a decision may appear by an apparently associated political donation, decisions are effectively final.