strategy project and policy services to business and government

Planning & Development

Planning and development advisory service

As managing director of SPP Services Pty Ltd, Frank Sartor provides advice to a range of organisations on matters of strategy, project management and government policy.  The business has a diverse range of clients from law firms to property owners to firms training senior public servants.

A large component of the business involves the provision of planning and development advice to owners and developers.   The Australian land use planning system is a complex one and New South Wales is no exception.

Efficiently managing a planning or consent process through the NSW planning maze can save money and time, while often achieving better outcomes. With 25 years experience in the planning system (and access to the best professionals in the field if needed) this service can add substantial value to any property owner or developer with plans to develop land or realise its potential.


Services offered in planning and development 

  • Assessing the prospects of proposed planning or development outcomes
  • Devising optimum pathways for DAs and planning proposals
  • Overseeing the carriage of planning or development proposals
  • Preparing and reviewing development applications and relevant  documentation
  • Meeting with officials to argue merit issues
  • Advising on the implications of planning policies, instruments and legislation
  • Preparing planning proposals to achieve changes to permissible uses
  • Selecting a technical support team for planning and development projects
  • Project manage the approval phase of development applications and planning proposals

Expertise in planning and development

  • Determined many hundreds of applications for major development in NSW both as minister for planning and as chair of the Central Sydney Planning Committee;
  • Devised and implemented major reforms to the NSW planning system which are now well accepted and will be incorporated into the proposed new planning Act.;
  • Assessment  of proposed planning polices and instruments and their implications;
  • Prepare  detailed merit arguments in support of development applications and planning proposals;
  • A thorough understanding of how State and local governments make planning and development decisions;
  • A thorough understanding of public consultation processes for planning and development proposals.
  • Advice to governments and local councils on how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their planning and development controls systems.
  • Stakeholder engagement
Ministerial achievements: Planning and Development
As Minister for Planning  (Aug 2005 – Sept 2008)

  • Decided  hundreds of major development applications;
  • Finalized and adopted the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy (2005) to manage Sydney’s growth by 1.1million people over the next 25 years;
  • Introduced a new regional strategy for the Hunter, catering for 25 years of population growth while creating of 22,000 hectares of new national park and conservation areas;
  • Introduced regional strategies for North Coast, Central Coast, Illawarra, South Coast, Sydney Canberra Corridor, and Mid North coast;
  • Introduced new City centre plans for six major regional cities – Parramatta, Penrith, Liverpool,  Wollongong, Newcastle, and Gosford – which totally rewrote the existing plans and obtained the agreement and involvement all six councils;
  • Achieved major reforms to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act that were enacted by Parliament in June 2008, and have been retained by the incoming Coalition  government, including the Planning Assessment Commission and the Joint Regional Planning Panels;
  • Amended the Planning Act in 2006 to require performance reporting by Councils on planning and development matters;
  • Implemented the BASIX system of energy and water conservation for all residential homes;
  • Implemented new standard LEP’s for all Councils in NSW in 2006;
  • Reformed the State Seniors Living policy to facilitate aged housing;
  • Rationalized the number of State Environmental Planning Policies;
  • Advocated reforms to planning systems at a National level at the Ministerial Council on planning and local government;
  • Made live music venues easier to achieve by abolishing POPE licenses;
  • Created the Redfern Waterloo Authority;
  • Introduced a new master plan for Sydney Olympic Park.

As Minister for Redfern Waterloo  2005-2008.

Under the Minister’s guidance the Redfern Waterloo Authority achieved the following:

  • Attracted $123m Channel 7 investment to Australian technology Park with 2200 jobs;
  • Procured  a new Redfern Community Health Centre  on the old Court House site using existing heritage buildings;
  • Procured a $47m investment by NICTA/DISTO investment on ATP with 600 new jobs;
  • Brokered and facilitated $45m National Indigenous Development Centre (Redfern Public  School site) to  promote sporting, cultural and social excellence and cater for 5000 Indigenous students annually;
  • Procured 270 construction jobs for local  indigenous people in Redfern Waterloo  including the provision of basic skills training;
  • Organized a new hospitality training facility (Yamma Dhiyaan)  for aboriginal trainees, accrediting hundreds of Aboriginal trainees with 75% post-training employment work;
  • Introduced Redfern-Waterloo  Built Environment Plan;
  • Adopted a new plan for North Eveleigh – a concept plan for 10.7 hectare North Eveleigh Rail yards site, providing potentially for 3700 new jobs and housing for 2400 new residents.
As Minister for Climate Change and the Environment (Dec 2009-March 2011)
While Frank Sartor was Minister for Climate Change and the Environment much was achieved, including  the following:

  • The Local Government Amendment (Environmental Upgrade Agreements) Act to accelerate energy efficiency improvements in commercial and large multi-unit residential buildings by improving access to project finance for upgrades, and by removing the ‘split incentive’ barrier that deters owners from investing in energy savings measures that benefit tenants.
  • Approved Australia’s first BioBanking Agreement protecting 80 hectares of private, high conservation land forever.
  • The Environmental Monitoring Act, which provides for a cost-recovery mechanism to conduct environmental monitoring programs where it is determined there is the need to investigate the cumulative impacts on a population centre from a cluster of industry such as dust from coal mines in the Hunter, with mining industry support.
  • The Coastal Protection Amendment Act which better equiped councils and communities to plan for and deal with coastal erosion.
  • Reformed National Park legislation to promote better management and better access for visitors.
Achievements as Lord Mayor of Sydney (1991-2003)
Organizational and fiscal highlights

  • Major financial transformation of Council from debt and deficits in 1991 to debt free and large recurrent surpluses (1994 – 2003).
  • Transformed staff culture and moral, halved staff numbers, introduced competitive tendering for a range of services, removed featherbedding and greatly improved efficiencies, all without losing one day in industrial action in over 11 years.

City planning and development highlights

  • Introduced first ever statutory planning controls for central Sydney
  • Greatly improved the skill and competence of  planning staff and depoliticized planning processes, consistently achieving average determination times (for all DA’s) of under 30 days – the best in NSW.
  • Improved functioning of Central Sydney Planning committee with greater City-State cooperation.
  • Removed 22 holes in the ground inherited from 1989 property recession
  • Created “living city vision” for central Sydney, vastly increased residential population and brought the city centre back to life.
  • Introduced outdoor dining areas.
  • Introduced architectural competitions and achieved better design outcomes resulting in such buildings as the Renzo Piano building (Phillip Street), the Lumiere (Bathurst Street), the Deutche Bank Building (Phillip Street), 363 George Street, and the Westpac Building (Sussex Street) .

Highlights of an unprecedented City infrastructure program

  • The Capitol Theatre restoration and a new City Recital Hall in Angel Place (both as PPPs).
  • Acquisition and refurbishment of Customs House negotiated with Commonwealth government.
  • Create a unified Cook and Phillip park, including a new aquatic and recreation centre and a new square outside St Mary’s Cathedral serviced by a boutique car park underneath.
  • Built a new Andrew Boy Charlton Pool at Woolloomooloo Bay and commenced Ian Thorpe Pool at Ultimo.
  • Built three new recreation centres and five new child care centres.
  • Built the Asian Arts centre in Hay Street.
  • Transformed CBD  footpaths including George Street, Railway Square, Martin Place, Alfred Street, Park Street, and the retail core
  • Major refurbishment of Hyde Park, Wynyard Park, and new parks created in Ultimo, Pyrmont, Surry Hills and Millers Point.