John Hayward Mant 1936-2021

Planning lawyer, advisor to governments and former Councillor, City of Sydney Council

John Mant, who died on 10 July 2021, was one of Australia’s leading experts on planning systems and local government management. John’s expertise spanned the fields of planning law, housing policy, development control, organisation design and development, place management, and urban management. He was an adviser to Labor Minister Tom Uren at the Department of Urban and Regional Development and Principal Private Secretary to Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in the early 1970s.

Following time as Director-General of Housing, Urban and Regional Affairs in South Australia (1977-1980), John returned to legal practice. He believed that his game-changing 1992 review of, and accepted recommendations for, the reorganisation of the NSW Department of Housing was possibly his most important work. He co-wrote the current NSW Local Government Act (1993) and was appointed Acting Commissioner of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption in 1994.

An early advocate for place management, John was an Adjunct Professor of Planning at the University of Technology Sydney.

In urban management, John showed how the structure of organisations affects the outcomes they produce and accordingly restructured many organisations. He simplified local government management legislation in NSW by removing barriers to flexible governance This influenced the reform of local government in other Australian states.

John Mant was consulted by governments in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT. His work also took him to India, Mongolia and Vietnam.

He served two terms as President of the Paddington Society. In “retirement”, he was elected a Councillor of the City of Sydney (2012- 2016). His major last project was as instigator and co-author of the proposed Better Places Act.

A full obituary for John Mant may be found here


Director / Architect, Urban Planner & Designer
City Planning Works

For over 40 years, Michael has advised public and private sector clients on managing the approvals process from regulation to litigation. An experienced expert witness, he has presented urban planning/design evidence before the NSW Land and Environment Court in nearly 700 cases. This long and diverse experience has led him to the conclusion that the NSW Planning System must change as it goes into the 21st century.

Michael Neustein is Chairman of the Australian Institute of Urban Studies NSW of which he is an Honorary Fellow. He is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia.

  • Restore community trust and involvement in the NSW planning system.
  • Make the planning system more efficient, understandable and transparent by adopting the latest digital technology.
  • Focus the planning system on achieving better places.
  • Provide an agile planning system better able to respond to climate change and technological advances.