Cessnock community will benefit from independent planning panel

24 August 2010

The Urban Taskforce today welcomed the NSW Governments decision to strip Cessnock City Council of its planning powers. The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the decision should encourage better performance by other local councils.

Cessnock City Council takes an average of 9 months to process job creating development applications valued at more than $5 million, Mr Gadiel said.


This kind of delay just drives employment and housing away at great cost to the Cessnock community.


The NSW Government has announced the appointment of an independent expert panel to:


¢ assess development applications valued at more than $1 million;


¢ assess development applications with a value of more than $100,000 still undetermined 90 days after being lodged; and


¢ decide rezoning proposals.


Residential rents in the Cessnock council area have been soaring, due to an undersupply of new homes, Mr Gadiel said.


Just in 12 months to June, rents for Cessnocks two bedroom homes have jumped by 17 per cent, and rents for three bedroom homes have increased by 9 per cent.


Local rents are increasing at between three and five times the rate of inflation.


Thats too much for Cessnock families to bear, and thats why the councils should have been working harder to boost the local supply of housing.


If Cessnock Council cant exercise its planning powers in a timely, efficient, way, its only right that the community benefits from the assistance of independent experts.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.


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