Two of the brightest minds in planning made NSW proud recently after being recognised at the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) awards on the Gold Coast.

The Department of Planning and Environment’s Rukshan de Silva was named Australian Young Planner of the Year while Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission Geoff Roberts was declared the national Planning Champion.

Planning and Public Spaces minister Rob Stokes congratulated the pair, describing each of them as outstanding ambassadors for the planning profession. 

“NSW is lucky to have such talented and accomplished professionals working hard every day to improve communities across the State,” says Stokes.

“As principal planner in the Department’s Planning and Design team, Rukshan has been doing vital work, developing a framework to recognise local character within Sydney’s Growth Areas"

“Most recently Rukshan has made a fantastic effort to support the Go Jindabyne masterplan, to help grow Jindabyne into Australia's premier alpine destination and a great place to live and visit year-round."

“He’s also been providing technical assistance in strategic land use planning in Peru and is part of PIA’s National Settlement Strategy Team," he says.

“Geoff Roberts has 35 years of experience working on city strategy, governance and leadership, renowned both in Australia and internationally.

“He led the negotiation of the Western Sydney City Deal on behalf of the NSW Government and played a pivotal role in the tri-government agreement reached in March 2018, between the Australian Government, the eight councils of the Western City and the NSW Government.

“Geoff is a passionate and effective advocate for the region who is working tirelessly to make Sydney a better place to live,” says Stokes.

Image: Rukshan de Silva / University of Waterloo