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Disclosure of Political Donations and Gifts

The Department of Planning has issued a circular and guidelines providing an overview of the new reporting requirements for political donations and gifts under the planning and Local Government legislation. The amendments require the disclosure of relevant political donations or gifts when planning instrument proposals or development applications are made.

The amendments apply to council officers, elected councillors, applicants for development and development related matters which include EPIs, DCPs, concept plans and applications for declaration as State Significant Development, as well as Part 3A projects and modifications. There are also obligations for disclosure on persons who make written submissions supporting or opposing development applications or planning proposals.

These provisions do not relate to complying development certificates or applications or requests made by public authorities on their own behalf, or on behalf of applications that are excluded by the Regulations.

A disclosure must be made by any person who has a financial interest in a planning application and who has made a reportable political donation in the 2 years before the application is made or determined. The guidelines contain an example of a disclosure statement.

In addition, council’s general manager is required to keep a public register containing each planning decision made by council, and the names of the councillors who supported or opposed the decision.

The guidelines also state that a general manager must refer any matter to the Director General of the Department of Local Government where they reasonably suspect that a councillor has not complied with provisions of the council’s Code of Conduct relating to the disclosure of political donations. These provisions are currently the subject of discussion between the Department and the Associations.

Amendments to Local Government and planning legislation requiring the public disclosure of donations or gifts when lodging or commenting on development proposals commenced on October 1, 2008. Most importantly, a person will be guilty of an offence by way of Section 9.50 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 if the person fails to make a disclosure of a reportable political donation or gift if it is reasonable for that person to have known that such a disclosure should have been made. The maximum penalty will be $22,000 or 12 months imprisonment, or both.

Variations to Development Standards Register

Clause 4.6 of the Local Environment Plan (LEP) provides a process by which an application can include a request to vary a development standard in the LEP.

Determinations of requests for variations under Clause 4.6 are reported quarterly to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

If you feel there is strong justification to depart from a statutory standard you must lodge an objection under Clause 4.6 of the LEP.

The Land and Environment Court, directions from the State Government and the Act have defined how a Clause 4.6 objection should be written and how the justification to the departure from the statutory standard in the EPI must be framed.

We recommend you use a consultant town planner or other land use professional to assist you in preparing a Clause 4.6 objection.

Below is a list of the Clause 4.6 variations for Tweed Shire Council:

Variations Register 2008 (111kB PDF)
Variations Register 2009 (153kB PDF)
Variations Register 2010 (134kB PDF)
Variations Register 2011 (139kB PDF)
Variations Register 2012 (143kB PDF)
Variations Register 2013 (152kB PDF)
Variations Register 2014 (157kB PDF)
Variations Register 2015 (95kB PDF)
Variations Register 2016 (106kB PDF)
Variations Register 2017 (103kB PDF)
Variations Register 2018 (98kB PDF)
Variations Register 2019 (124kB PDF)
Variations Register 2020 (122kB PDF)

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