Planning and Environment Secretary Carolyn McNally resigns

By David Donaldson

April 2, 2019

Carolyn McNally, secretary of the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment, announced her resignation on Monday amid a post-election shakeup. She says she never intended to stay so long in NSW.

McNally said she had already vacated the role and is exploring a number of new opportunities, including within the NSW government.

“With the re-elected government and the significant machinery of government changes that have been foreshadowed by the government over the next few weeks, I have decided it is an opportune time for me to make a career change,” McNally wrote in an email to staff.

“I have been secretary of Planning and Environment for five years now and before that deputy director general in Transport for three years.

“When I moved from Canberra to Sydney to take up the Transport role, I had planned on a two-year stint with the NSW government but ended up staying for eight years.”

McNally listed a number of areas where the department had made a “real difference”:

  • The introduction of the first long-term transport master plan for NSW, which has now had all of its recommendations and strategies implemented;
  • Establishment of the Greater Sydney Commission;
  • Revamping the NSW planning legislation for the first time in nearly 40 years;
  • Establishing independent hearing and assessment panels;
  • Introducing the e-planning portal so development applications can now be submitted online;
  • Introducing the five million trees initiative, and parks and playground initiatives;
  • Stepping up community involvement in departmental projects, with a 75% increase in community engagement in the last year;
  • Introducing social and economic guidelines to ensure balanced assessment of projects, as well as reducing assessment times for these projects to around 120 days, to improve service delivery for a wide variety of customers;
  • Introducing energy zones and a number of new energy programs, and new arts and culture, and minerals, strategies; and
  • Finally introducing a single cluster corporate services function, bringing with it significant administrative efficiencies for the government, as well as a modernisation of the tools staff need to do their jobs well.

McNally is to be replaced with Infrastructure NSW CEO Jim Betts, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, and Roads and Maritime Services will be rolled into Transport for NSW.

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