Nominations now open for Burwood IHAP


Friday, 01 December 2017 11:54AM

In August 2017 the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&AA) was amended in relation to the establishment and operation of local planning panels called Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAP).

What are Independent Hearting and Assessment Panels?

The IHAP is panel of independent experts that determine development applications on behalf of Council, and provide other advice to Council on planning matters.

The benefits of the IHAP include:

  • reducing the risk of conflict of interest and corruption, by ensuring that development decision are made people who are independent of developers;
  • better planning outcomes as development applications are determined on their technical merit by qualified experts, in line with the planning controls that apply in the local area; and
  • elevating the role of the Council to focus on strategic planning that delivers on the community’s goads an priorities.

Who will sit on the IHAP?

The IHAP is a panel of three independent expert members and a community member. The expert members will be qualified in at least one of the following areas:

  • planning
  • architecture
  • heritage
  • the environment
  • urban design
  • economics
  • traffic and transport
  • law
  • engineering
  • tourism
  • government
  • public administration

The chair will have expertise in law or government and public administration.

The Department of Planning and Environment will establish a pool of independent, suitably qualified person from which the other two panel members will be selected. The Minister for Planning will approve the pool expert members.

The fourth panel member will be community representative, to enhance the panel’s knowledge of the local matters. This member will be chosen by Council and does not have to be an expert in of the fields listed above.

What is the criteria that will determine when DAs will be determined by IHAP?

DAs with a value of more than $5 million but less than $30 million 
Conflict of Interest
DAs for which the applicant or owner is the Council, a Councillor, a member of the Councillor’s family, a member of Council Staff, or a State or Federal member of Parliament.
Contentiousness DAs that receive 10 or more objections from different households. Where a petition is received this is classed as one objection.
Strategic Importance
DAs accompanied by a proposed voluntary planning agreement.
Departure from Development Standards
DAs seeking to depart by more than 10% from a development standard.
High-risk Development Types

DAs associated with a higher risk of corruption, including:

  • Residential flat buildings assessed under SEPP 65
  • Demolition of heritage items
  • Licensed places of public entertainment and sex industry premises
  • Designated development, as set out in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000
Modifications Modification applications that meet the above criteria.


What is the Strategic Role Council?

The key benefit of the IHAP is that it frees council to focus its efforts on strategic leadership in the planning system. This includes delivering great strategic planning that involves the community establishing the vision, goals and priorities for land use the local area.

It also includes the critical task of ensuring that local development controls – governing what types of development are permissible in the local area – are yp-to-date and in line with the strategic plan. These controls are found in the local environmental plan and the development control plans prepared by council.

When these strategic functions are performed well, the task of assessing and determining individual development applications becomes a technical matter of assessing the application’s merits against the rules that are set by the Council. It is appropriate that technical experts – on the IHAP or the Council’s Planning Officer – perform this task.

Apply now!

Nominations are now open for appointment of community representatives.

Click here for the nomination form.