Community representation increased on Council’s Planning Panel


Georges River Council continues to improve its processes as a local government organisation to increase transparency in its decision making practices.

In May 2016, following its proclamation, Council established an Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP) to provide an independent and open forum in the determination of specific Development Applications.

A recent review led to positive feedback from the community on the IHAP’s operations as it was evident that Council was determined to make its Development Application processes transparent which led to good probity, reducing the possibility of private lobbying.

Another change is the requirement that the Panel provides reasons for its decisions.

The IHAP Panel consists of four members, three of whom are experts in law, town planning or urban design, and the fourth member is selected on a rotating basis from a pool of five community representatives.

All panel members have equal voting rights and all participate in panel discussions and deliberations.

“Council is really pleased that its IHAP structure naturally generates greater community involvement in the Development Application decision making process,” Georges River Council Administrator John Rayner said.

“Objectors and applicants can make comments during the site inspection and make presentations in the panel session.”

“It’s important that Council provides residents and the community more opportunities to be heard, and for their interests to be considered during deliberation and determination.”

“Prior to amalgamation such a process was not in place. It demonstrates Council’s commitment to fairer and transparent processes, to help determine planning which affects everyone in the Georges River area.”

To date the IHAP has considered 41 applications, of which 24 have been approved, 10 deferred and 7 refused.

For more information, please contact Council.