Local Government and Planning Ministers Meeting?

Last week's Harper Review into Australia's National Competition Policy suggested that a new Australian Council for Competition Policy would be an appropriate vehicle to oversee progress in the area of competition. However, after thinking about it further, I believe that this is one of a number of matters, along with environmental, fiscal sustainability, federation and taxation reform issues, which underline the need for a meeting of local government and planning ministers. As the official avenue for such meeting was disbanded following the rationalisation of Ministerial Councils in 2013, I am writing to the Deputy Prime Minister to suggest a meeting of local government and planning ministers be convened by the Federal Government.

The Review has again put the spotlight on planning, one of the most important and contentious areas of local government responsibility.  In particular, the Review highlighted planning and zoning as one of three priority areas for regulation review, with an emphasis on increasing competition and improving productivity. While there is room for reform, most local governments would agree that "excessive and complex" zoning should be minimised to provide greater clarity for the community.   The suggestion from the Review that there may be scope for collaboration across jurisdictions to look at best practice guidelines which could potentially be adapted to local considerations, is also worth pursuing.