Independent Hearing & Assessment Panel
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Independent Hearing & Assessment Panel

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Independent Hearing & Assessment Panel


The Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel was originally established by Council in 2008 to provide an independent hearing forum for objectors and applicants on certain applications. This IHAP was an advisory panel only making recommendations to Council.

The IHAP became a mandatory panel on 14 August 2017 with the assent of the Environmental Planning and Assessment and Electoral Legislation Amendment (Planning Panels and Enforcement) Bill 2017. The purpose of the Bill was to require Council to constitute an IHAP which now has determination power.

The IHAP or Council staff under delegation will now exercise the consent authority functions of Council, Councillors are not permitted to exercise consent authority functions.

The IHAP will also have the function of advising on planning proposals that are referred to the panel by Council (or at the direction of the Minister), and to advise Council on any other planning or development matter that is to be determined by Council and that is referred to the panel by the council.

The IHAP panel will continue to provide an independent assessment of particular development applications and  determine applications.

The  IHAP continues  to provide:

  • increased transparency, integrity and confidence in the development application assessment process
  • an independent hearing forum for objectors and applicants with an increased sense of involvement in the outcomes of the assessment process.

 IHAP referral criteria

The Minister for Planning issued directions under Section 9.1 of the EP&A Act 1979 on 23 February 2018. These directions outline the referral criteria for development applications to be determined by an IHAP. The direction also requires that certain planning proposals are to be referred to the IHAP for advice. The Minister also issued a code of conduct and operational procedures for IHAP members.

The directions, code of conduct and operational proceedures came into force on 1 March 2018 and replaced Council's IHAP committee charter and code of conduct.​

You can view the referral criteria, code of conduct and operational procedures on the Planning and Environment website​.

Panel Members


Sue Francis - Chair
Allison McCabe - Alternate chair/expert
Robert Montgomery - Alternate chair/expert

Expert members

Brendan Randles
Glenn Falson
Helena Miller
Larissa Ozog
Mark Carlon
Scott Lee
Steve Fermio
Steven Layman
Susan Hobley

Community representatives

Andrew Knowlson
Bernard Hibbard
Edgar Dubois
Peter Sarlos
Robyn Deards
Tina Christy
Trish McBride​

IHAP Agenda Items and Meeting Outcomes


Agenda items and minutes are located under Council's meetings section of this website.