Brad Hazzard: "These are people's lives and livelihoods." Photo: Brockwell Perks
An attempt to radically overhaul the state's planning laws has been left in limbo after the NSW government refused to vote on amendments demanded by the upper house and gave itself three months to consult on the changes.
A minister without the temperament and the political skills to negotiate the passage of a large piece of legislation.
In the state Parliament on Thursday morning, Planning Minister Brad Hazzard launched a 40-minute attack on what he called the "unholy alliance" of Labor, the Greens and the Shooters and Fishers Party over the changes.
But Labor has accused Mr Hazzard of lacking the temperament to negotiate over the bill and suggested Premier Barry O'Farrell should replace him.
"Brad Hazzard was [former anti-development Greens MP] Sylvia Hale in opposition and he is Donald Trump in government," opposition planning spokesman Luke Foley said.
Labor, the Greens and the Shooters and Fishers Party combined in the upper house on Wednesday night to force significant amendments to the planning bill, including removing its controversial "code assessment" provisions.
The proposed rules would force councils to approve developments in high-growth areas that meet agreed requirements, such as building heights, within 25 days, with no community appeal rights.
The amended bill also sought to quash a contentious new planning policy which makes the economic benefit of large mining projects the principle consideration in the approval process.
Mr Hazzard lashed out at Labor's position and accused it of running a scare campaign over the planning laws.
"The unholy alliance of Labor and Greens in the upper house, aided and abetted by the Shooters and Fishers, has jeopardised the housing supply our community needs," he said.
Mr Hazzard branded Labor's approach to negotiations as "very short-sighted [and] politically opportunistic".
He said an "unprecedented coalition" of business groups had backed the bill, including the Civil Contractors Federation, the NSW and Sydney business chambers, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, the NSW Minerals Council, the Property Council of Australia and the Tourism and Transport Forum.
Mr Hazzard said the amendment to the mining policy would affect jobs in the cities and the regions.
"These are people's lives and livelihoods that Labor has played with," Mr Hazzard said.
He said the government had three months before Parliament returns in early March next year and would determine its response after "further consultation" with the community.
Mr Foley lambasted the speech as "45 minutes of bluster from Brad Hazzard and no decision at the end of it."
He said Labor "eliminated the worst excesses of the bill", which was at odds with the government's election promise to return planning powers to the community.
Mr Hazzard's performance "says that this is a minister without the temperament and the political skills to negotiate the passage of a large piece of legislation," Mr Foley said.
"I think Mr O'Farrell should look for a new planning minister who can deliver this bill into law".
Greens MP David Shoebridge said every day the bill was not law "is a good day for communities and the environment in NSW".
"After 2½ years of consultation it is safe to say that the Planning Minister has achieved a historic failure of planning reform," he said.
The Better Planning Network community group expressed its "deep disappointment" that the bill had passed the upper house even in amended form.