Prior to the 2011 New South Wales (NSW) state election the Liberal-National Coalition campaigned strongly on planning system reform, mobilising inefficiencies in the system and concerns over corruption as central election platforms. A new planning system and legislation were the ultimate objectives. The NSW Government has engaged in an ambitious reform process that has seen the release of a Green Paper, a White Paper and draft legislation. On releasing the White Paper, the premier claimed that the reforms would 'return more powers to local councils', promote 'genuine consultation [and] provide certainty'. The intent of the planning reforms was to simplify the law and have a greater strategic focus supporting economic growth. In this paper, we explore the reform process, focussing on its underlying objectives and, in some cases, the tensions between them. Despite the Minister for Planning's claim that the government 'is delivering an entirely new approach to how planning is done', by focusing on a few key elements, we question the extent to which the reforms are as innovative as claimed and assess the barriers to implementation. We conclude that, as presented in the Planning Bill, the reforms are not revolutionary but rather represent an evolutionary change in planning law and policy.