An Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel, known as an IHAP, is a panel of three independent expert members and a community member who assess development applications made to local Councils.
IHAPs are to become mandatory for all councils in Sydney and for Wollongong City Council. IHAPs are to be put in place so that the process of assessment and determination of development applications (DAs) of high value, corruption risk, sensitivity or strategic importance is transparent and accountable.
Statutory rules will govern the panels operation, through a code of conduct.
The Minister for Planning will choose the independent, expert Chairs for Councils to appoint to their IHAP. Councils will also choose two expert members to appoint to their IHAP from a pool established by the Department of Planning and Environment and approved by the Minister for Planning. It will be up to Councils to recruit and appoint community members to the panels.
Panel members are required to be expert in one or more of the following fields: planning, architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, traffic and transport, law, engineering, tourism, or government and public administration.
Panel chairs are required to have expertise in law, or government and public administration.
Councillors, property developers and real estate agents will be ineligible to be panel members as this undermines the objective of having DAs determined by independent experts, depoliticising the assessment process.
- Guide to recruiting IHAPS community representatives
- IHAPS presentation to councillor information sessions
- Role Statement: Chairs and members for the Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels 2017
- Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels Frequently Asked Questions
- Fact sheet: Legislation provisions Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels – September 2017
- Fact sheet: What is an Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel?