SHELLHARBOUR bureaucrats have criticised the state government's proposed planning overhaul and drawn links between it and Labor's now-defunct Part 3a planning powers.
In a draft submission on the planning green paper, Shellharbour council staff raised concerns about its lack of detail and clarity, especially in relation to community engagement and the role of councils.
They also called on the government to clarify two parts of the proposed system that they believed might be reminiscent of Part 3a, which gave the planning minister consent authority for major projects.
The O'Farrell government axed the unpopular section last year, in line with its election promise.
Shellharbour's draft submission shows it is wary about changes to its role in the planning process.
This is partly due to the previous government's decision to approve the Calderwood subdivision concept plan under the controversial section, despite fierce opposition from the council.
In the submission, staff argued that proposed subregional delivery plans, which would include rezoning land in key areas to avoid constantly amending local plans, needed to be clarified.
"Shellharbour City Council is all too aware of the impacts such decisions at a state level have on the finances, infrastructure and service delivery at a local government level," the report said.
Under the green paper proposal, subregional plans would be developed in partnership with local governments and with community consultation.
Council staff also called on the government to clarify its position on the use of special certificates, which could be issued by the head of the NSW planning department.
"While lacking detail, it appears that the policy is modelled on the now defunct Part 3a of the Act where the state could override local planning controls," the report said.
Planning Minister Brad Hazzard could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The state government unveiled its planning green paper in July.
The document emphasised the importance of "upfront" community engagement in strategic planning and outlined a strategy to overhaul the state's cumbersome planning laws.
Critics have argued it would be difficult to get residents involved early in the process because many people only take an interest in planning when they are directly affected.
The green paper will be followed by a white paper with more detail about the proposed system.
Shellharbour councillors will vote on whether to endorse the draft at tonight's meeting.