Department boss sacked in NSW planning shake-up

NSW minister for planning, Pru Goward, has sacked long-time planning department chief, Sam Haddad

Former Chief of Planning, Sam Haddad

A New South Wales planning shake up has involved a new planning minister, the merging of planning and infrastructure with environment, and the sacking of long-term director general of planning and infrastructure.

In her first act as the new minister for planning, Pru Goward has sacked long-time planning department chief, Sam Haddad, claiming his role has been abolished as part of the merger between the department of planning and the department of environment.

“The position of director-general of planning and infrastructure was abolished as part of setting up a new principal department of planning and environment,’’ a spokesman said.

‘‘The new role of secretary will have wider responsibilities, serving three ministers (planning, environment and heritage, and local government), and will be filled through a competitive merit selection process.

‘‘The government thanks the former director-general, Mr Sam Haddad, for his sustained and substantial long-term service to the state.”

Haddad had served as planning minister for the past nine years, and was an integral part of the NSW government’s planning reform agenda, which stalled last year after fierce community opposition. A worldwide search will be undertaken to find Haddad’s replacement.

The environment portfolio has existed inside the department of premier and cabinet since the O'Farrell government abolished the department of environment, climate change and water soon after it came to power in 2011.

The incorporation of environment, planning and local government into a new department of planning and environment may signal a new attempt to push forward with local government amalgamations.