Wollondilly Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel (IHAP)
The NSW Government recently passed legislation requiring Councils to establish Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAPs NSW Planning and Environment). These panels are to determine planning applications for certain development.
The Wollondilly IHAP must be established by 1 March 2018.
The IHAP, or Council staff under delegation, will now exercise the consent authority functions of Council.
The primary function of the IHAP is to determine development applications that meet thresholds as determined by the NSW Government. They will also have the function of providing advice to Council on planning proposals and any other planning or development matter that is referred to the panel.
The IHAP will provide an independent assessment of particular development applications and determine applications.
How do IHAPs work?
An IHAP is made up of three (3) professional members and one (1) community representative (selected from a pool of appointed panel members).
The Minister for Planning selects the independent expert Chairs for councils to appoint to their IHAP. Councils will select two (2) expert members from a pool established by the Department of Planning and Environment and approved by the Minister for Planning.
It is up to councils to recruit and appoint community members to the panel.
The three (3) professional members will select one (1) of the community representatives for each meeting, to discuss matters on the agenda.
IHAPs are to be governed by a code of conduct and operational procedures (both to be developed by NSW Government) that will ensure the proper conduct of members, procedural fairness and efficient and effective meetings.