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Angry mayors meet on planning concerns

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Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood pulled together an urgent meeting of Adelaide’s mayors early yesterday to discuss a response to the State Government’s spate of swift planning changes.

Yarwood was out of the country when Planning Minister John Rau used the last sitting day of Parliament to enact several previously unannounced changes to the system – including controversially removing the statutory consultation role of Town Hall for significant CBD developments.

Yesterday he rallied mayors from West Torrens, Charles Sturt, Norwood Payneham & St Peters, Unley and Burnside Councils – with the plan now to take the issue to the Minister and the media.

“It is a very unusual time to do something without any consultation and without any engagement with the people that it would effect – in fact, it’s poor form,” Yarwood told InDaily.

“I personally am disappointed because such a decision should not be done without any community debate, nor should it be done without councils being at least consulted … this is exactly the sort of thing that should and indeed must be discussed in capital city committee and it was not done so.”

Prospect Council’s Mayor David O’Loughlin – who made the argument to his initially-concerned council that the planning changes should be supported – was invited but chose not to attend. His deputy was also unavailable, InDaily understands.

The Local Government Association – which O’Loughlin headed before taking a leave of absence earlier this year to run as the Labor candidate for the Seat of Adelaide in the March State Election – has also publicly attacked the gazetted changes, saying they are “designed to alienate elected councils”.

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