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Comparison between Different Planning Systems in Different Jurisdictions Report (Assessment)

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Introduction

Planning systems are different from one region to another and from one country to another. In Australia, things are much more the same.

Since each state and territory has their own principle legislation for the land use planning system, it is still worth noting that the overall administration of the planning system is generally done by larger government departments. Planning portfolio is mostly intended to achieve integration with other portfolios such as environmental conservation.

The approaches to urban and land use planning differs from one state to another. Also the legislation and policies do differ.

In the state of Queensland, the government engages the public in most parts of the decision making process since land use will affect the local population. In the state of New South Wales, the public is also engaged in decision making process although the ministry of Planning is directly involved in the planning process.

State and territory planning systems in Australia

In Australia, there is no national method that guides the use of urban and land use planning. This means that the states and territories have to develop their own distinct planning systems to address the issues of land use and planning. In addition, each state has to come up with its own policies, legislation and approaches to land use and planning.

In the process of formulating policies throughout the states, there is often the aspect of overlap in which some policies in one state may be similar to others in a different state.

Knowing the similarities between these policies, legislations and approaches is not as important as understanding the way in which the different planning systems function in assisting the transfer of knowledge and good practice between jurisdictions (Young 2008).

Comprehending the role of planning systems is also important because it provides the basis for broader policy development planning or in relation to the promotion of particular priorities like environmental sustainability (Cameron 1978).

The administrative aspects of planning in Australia are such that they fall under ministerial dockets. Thus, a change in government or ministerial reshuffle is always accompanied with a reorganization of administrative functions of the panning agencies.

A good example is in New South Wales. Between 1997 and 2006, the planning portfolio was under the former department of urban affairs and planning (DUAP): Planning NSW: and the department of infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (DIPNR).

This was an attempt to combine various environment related departments with land use planning so that they fall under one large umbrella agency. Currently, the planning portfolio is under the single function Department of Planning (DOP).

Table1: The administrative arrangements for land use and environmental planning in the Australian states and territories are tabulated below.

State/territory Agencies with environmental policy and land use planning responsibilities
Australian capital territory (ACT) ACT planning and land authority
Environment ACT
New South Wales (NSW). Department of planning
Department of environment and conservation
Northern Territory (NT). Department of planning and infrastructure
Department of natural resources, environment and the arts
Queensland (QLD). Department of local government, planning sport and recreation
Environment protection agency
South Australia (SA). Planning SA, within department of primary industry and resources
Department of transport, energy and infrastructure
Department of energy and heritage
Tasmania (TAS). Department of justice (land use planning branch)
Resource planning and development commission
Department of tourism, arts and the environment
Department of infrastructure, energy and resources
Victoria (VIC). Department of sustainability and environmenta
Environment protection authority
Western Australia (WA). Department of planning and infrastructure
Western Australia planning commission
Department of environment and conservation

Adapted from Gurran.

In addition, each state has its specific objectives relating to community or social well being. This reflects more recent recognition that planning systems affect social outcomes for different individuals and groups in the society. The likely outcomes are therefore considered during plan making and even when development proposals are assessed.

SWOT analysis

Comprehensive examination of the internal and external environment is important to be undertaken by a planning agency during the planning process. SWOT analysis is a way of examining these factors (Bohm 2008). Those environmental factors that are related with internal affairs of the specific environment are called strengths (S) and weaknesses (W).

However, those factors whose influences are out of the specific environment are called opportunities (O) and threats (T). Therefore, an analysis of all these factors is called SWOT analysis (QuickMBA 2010). The SWOT analysis framework helps to simplify the whole planning process.

Figure 1: Systematic diagram showing how SWOT analysis fits into the environmental scan.

Systematic diagram showing how SWOT analysis fits into the environmental scan.

Adapted from QuickMBA.

The strengths of a planning strategy are based on its policies and legislation. The policies can be used as foundations on which effective environmental conservation, urban, and land use planning can be built.

The weaknesses of the planning strategy refer to the absence of certain legislation or policies that may have otherwise acted as effective guides to sustainable environmental conservation, and as a framework for urban and land use planning.

On the other hand, opportunities may refer to the positive external environmental factors that have been revealed as a result of formulation and enactment of the policies. This can also include the merger of policies by two or more states due to an overlap of the same policies and can be advantageous to all the states involved.

The changes in the external environment may also present threats to the existing policies and legislation. These changes may destabilize the policy framework within a state. Such influences may arise from the federal government and thus overrule some aspects of the legislation present in a state (Chapman 2011).

It is important for a state not to rush into formulation of policies and enactment of legislation that may seem to be obviously advantageous to the people. This is because such legislation and policies may seem to be a lucrative opportunity to the people but on a critical view, their hazardous nature is gradual but far reaching.

Thus, a state may have a better chance at developing competitive policies that will benefit people and cause minimum destruction to the environment. Hence, a state can overcome a weakness by sealing loopholes so that it can be well prepared to pursue a compelling opportunity.

Comparison of plan making in Australia

SWOT analysis can be used to compare different planning strategies and policies in different jurisdictions. This paper discusses the similarities and contrasts between planning strategies in New South Wales and those in the state of Queensland.

Planning in the state of Queensland

The government of Queensland has formed an engagement initiative that forms a substantial engagement model. The model was formed in 1990s and it involves extensive community consultation in prerequisite stages of all public projects that affect the environment in one way or another.

These projects are mainly concerned with infrastructure, natural resource management and regional development. Queensland is a massive territory that is inhabited by a population mainly consisting of aborigines and Europeans (Stimson & Williams 2001).

The local government association of Queensland was formed mainly to mediate land use and other disputes which sums up as a system that builds up public sector capability. The government of Queensland also performs other duties such as environmental protection, desalinization, and lifelong learning projects.

The government has introduced several guidelines, manuals, handbooks and training programs to support community engagement process. By doing this, the government aims at improving quality, accountability and transparency in public programs.

Although the level of engagement differs throughout the state, regional planning has become an increasing focus within Queensland. There are regions of various size and character within the state. These regions have a sense of identity and commonality that makes them viable units for social, environmental and even economic planning (Grammeno 2009).

The state of Queensland has a relatively recent regional planning process called Central Queensland: A New Millennium (CQANM). This planning process provides an opportunity to reflect actively on the purposes of pubic projects and the processes applied. The success of CQANM is based upon strong relationships with ‘sectoral’ networks and also on building relevance and credibility with groups and communities.

Its success is also built on its ability to translate planning into tangible actions that recognize regional priorities and optimize the resources applied in the region. In addition to this, a Community Engagement Division (CED) has been set up at the Prime Minister’s office to oversee the engagement process.

This office also does interagency coordination, and monitors and evaluates the outcomes of such processes (UN: Economic and Social affairs 2009).

In addition to the preceding points, the Queensland initiative is currently undergoing an evaluation of the system including an evaluation on its effectiveness. The findings are revealing because they involve a number of functions that are supposed to be performed by the public service. Thus, the role of public service managers is to reconcile the competing and contradictory expectations of the public.

They should plan and provide services from a whole-of-state perspective as well as ensuring that competing needs are met. Public service managers should plan and provide services regionally while also ensuring that sub regional and local competing issues are addressed.

They should provide services at regional, sub regional and local levels while at the same time ensuring that competing demands of a departmentally organized system of governance.

Planning in New South Wales

The state of New South Wales has undergone through substantial amendments and environmental policy making since 1998. The major reforms by the NSW government include major legislative change in the form of the local government Act 1993 and consequent amendments to the EP&A Act.

The amendment of the EP&A Act was meant to partially integrate the types of approvals available under two statues namely; an inquiry into the government’s regulation affecting development and, two green papers released in may 1996. The green papers invited public comments and later culminated into the Integrated Development Assessment, and an accompanying exposure Draft Bill.

As a result, three principal areas of reform were introduced by the Integrated Development Assessments. These reforms increased the role of the private sector in the assessment process (Davoudi, Crawford & Mehmood 2009).

The integrated development consent involves the introduction of three single assessment system for development, building and subdivision control.

It also involves the rationalization of other local government approvals relating to building work with a development consent granted under EP&A Act. Last but not least, the integrated development consent links approval requirements under other Acts with development consent under the EP&A Act.

In New South Wales, matters concerned with planning and environment have their origins at the declaration of the state government’s environmental impact policy resided with the then State Pollution Control Commission, SPCC. Thus, Environmental Impact Assessment and other environmental factors have been controlled by statute in the form of the EP&A Act.

This means that the relevant state planning authority is responsible for the management of Environmental issues such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). In this case, the authority lies solely with the minister for Planning (Elliot & Thomas 2009).

The government of NSW is currently taking on measures that will enhance its commitment in working with councils to reduce the time it takes for public projects to develop, by up to 50 percent (NWS Government: Department of planning, Undated).

There are certain measures that have been taken which will streamline the plan making process so that the Local Environmental Plans can be processed in a shorter period of time. In New South Wales, the Local Environmental Plans are prepared as a guiding factor into the way land use can be planned. These guides single out the areas that are protected from particular projects that might adversely affect the status of the receiving environment (World Bank: South Asia Region: Rural Development Sector Unit 1999).

Also, there are a series of important environmental considerations that are accompanied with these plans. These considerations include the EIA and economic concerns since these plans affect the growth of New South Wales (Thompson 2007).

In NSW, the ministry of planning is in charge of reviewing local environmental plans (Hillier & Healey 2010). The local environmental plan is prepared in such a way that it must have a statement of objectives, an explanation of the provisions of the proposal and a justification of the objectives and outcomes.

In addition to the above, the local environmental plan must have maps containing the appropriate details and also the details of the community consultations that are to be undertaken.

Conclusion

Planning systems are different from one region to another and from one country to another. In Australia, things are much more the same. Since each state and territory has their own principle legislation for the land use planning system, it is still worth noting that the overall administration of the planning system is generally done by larger government departments.

The administrative aspects of planning in Australia are such that they fall under ministerial dockets. Thus, a change in government or ministerial reshuffle is always accompanied with a reorganization of administrative functions of the panning agencies.

The strengths of a planning strategy are based on its policies and legislation while The weaknesses of the planning strategy refer to the absence of certain legislation or policies that may have otherwise acted as effective guides to sustainable environmental conservation, and as a framework for urban and land use planning.

On the other hand, opportunities may refer to the positive external environmental factors that have been revealed as a result of formulation and enactment of the policies

Reference list

Bohm, A. (2008). The SWOT analysis. Seminar Paper. Norderstedt: Auflage.

Cameron, R. (1978). Year Book: Australia. No. 62, 1977 and 1978. Australia: Australia Bureau of Statistics.

Chapman, A. (2011). . Web.

Davoudi, S., Crawford, J. & Mehmood, A. (2009). Planning For Climate Change. London: Earthscan Publishers.

Elliot, M. & Thomas, I. (2009). Environmental Impact Assessment in Australia: theory and practice. Ed. 5. Sydney: The Federation Press.

Grameno, G. (2009). Planning Occupational Health & Safety. Australia: CCH Australia Limited.

Gurran, N. (2007). Australian Urban Land Use Planning: Introducing Statutory Planning Practice. Sydney: Sydney University Press.

Hillier, J. & Healey, P. (2010). The AShgate Research Companion to Planning Theory: Conceptual Challenges for Spatial Planning. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. NWS Government: Department of planning (Undated). Local Plan Making. Web.

QuickMBA (2010). . Web.

Stimson, R. & Williams, J. (2001). International Urban Planning Settings. Oxford: Elsevier Science Ltd.

Thompson, S. (2007). Planning Australia: An Overview of Urban and Regional Planning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

UN: Economic and Social affairs (2009). People Matter: Civic Engagement In Public Governance: World Public Sector Report. United Nations Publication.

World Bank: South Asia Region: Rural Development Sector Unit. (1999). Intersectoral Water Allocation, Planning, And Management. New Delhi: Allied Publishers.

Young, G. (2008). Reshaping Planning With Culture. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

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