Faster planning approval guide for NSW councils is positive: Chris Johnson

Faster planning approval guide for NSW councils is positive: Chris Johnson
Faster planning approval guide for NSW councils is positive: Chris Johnson


The Development Assessment Best Practice Guide issued by NSW Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, is a positive move to speed up housing approvals but it should also apply to government agencies.

The government’s guide to improve development assessment in NSW Councils says all the right things about speeding up the process.

Words like ‘faster, streamlined and fast tracked’ are used throughout the document and this indicates a genuine move to improve performance.

The adoption of a ‘Fast Track Application’ in the ‘Practice Guide’ for certain projects is a positive approach.

The NSW planning system is generally seen as one of the most complex and slow in Australia and if we want to boost housing supply then this must be streamlined.

The NSW Premier’s target of 90 percent of housing approvals to be determined within 40 days is not the best measure of performance as the other 10 per cent could be the large multi-unit housing projects that include around half the homes.

The measure should really be 90% of dwellings should be determined within 90 days. It is these large housing projects that are the slowest in the approval process.

While the new guide is likely to improve assessment in councils, the Urban Taskforce is concerned that larger projects are often referred to government agencies like Roads and Maritime Services and this often delays the assessment process.

The Queensland Government has established the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) as a one stop shop to efficiently process government agency referrals.

The Urban Taskforce believes there are many requirements for development applications that are excessive and that the number of specialist reports now required is adding to costs and creating delays.

We are keen to sit down with the NSW Government to input our approach to streamlining the process.

The current guide has only come from discussion with councils and not with applicants.

Chris Johnson is chief executive officer of property development industry group Urban Taskforce and can be contacted here.

Urban Policy Urban Taskforce


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