The NSW Government has announced a major $83 million overhaul of its planning system which will accelerate the speed of the decision-making process.
The fast tracking of major projects has been a shining light in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak as the NSW government attempts to keep the economy afloat.
And now, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said that her government is keen to build on the momentum created by the approval of so many projects, which have played such a vital role in the state’s economic fightback against the pandemic.
Speaking at a Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA) event, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “The planning system has proved an incredibly powerful tool in our fight against the economic impacts of the pandemic.”
“This plan takes us into the next phase of reform, creating a system that is efficient, rigorous, supports our economy and our environment, is accessible online and is easy for anyone to use,” she said.
The changes to the current planning system will see rezoning decision times cut by 191 days (33% time saved), decisions on DAs for larger, regionally significant projects cut by 91 days (25% time saved), and decisions on major projects of significance to the state cut by 20 days (17% time saved).
Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said that by building on the impetus of significant recent approvals, the NSW Planning Reform Action Plan will create a more efficient and transparent planning system.
In the past 10 weeks alone, we’ve approved projects worth more than $1 billion a week, unlocking the potential to create more than 30,000 jobs, 2 million sqm of open space and more than 8000 new homes.Rob Stokes – Planning and Public Spaces Minister
“This plan will cut unnecessary duplication of processes and boost resources in our assessment team, so that we can keep as many people in jobs and keep our state moving both now and in the months and years ahead,” he said.
Mr Stokes said that the changes to the planning system will help streamline the approval process and help with projects that have come into difficulty during the planning process.
“NSW Government agencies are also on notice as part of this plan both to reduce the number of unnecessary concurrences and referrals cases, and reduce those that are outside statutory timeframes, with support from the newly established Planning Delivery Unit that is unblocking projects that are stuck in the system.”
The NSW Government has also invested almost $10 million to improve its ePlanning platform to reduce DA processing times by more than half, with all councils having to adopt the online system by 1 July 2021.
“Homeowners can now lodge DAs online from the comfort of their home, making renovating quicker, easier and hassle-free,” Ms Berejiklian said.