Councils take even longer to deal with bigger projects: New report

07 February 2011

Local councils are taking even longer to decide on large development applications and are driving investment away from NSW, according to the Urban Taskforce. The Local Development Performance Monitoring Report 2009-10 was released by the NSW Government today.

The Urban Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said that long processing times for development applications and the uncertainty about outcomes – are major reasons why people havent been investing in NSW.


An application for a project of more than $5 million to $20 million in value is stuck in council bureaucracy for an average of 257 days, up from 230 days in the previous year, he said.


This compares with an average of 67 days for all development applications.


Councils are wilfully ignoring the current benchmark which is between 40 and 60 days to decide development applications.


Mr Gadiel said that projects valued at more than between $5 million and a $100 million now take an average of 268 days to process, up from 245 days in the previous year.


Mr Gadiel said that despite the rhetoric about getting the planning system working again, the situation has deteriorated for those wanting to invest large sums in NSW.


The five councils that took the longest time to deal with development applications injecting between $5 million and $20 million to their local economy were:


¢ Singleton Council (1,167 days);

¢ Burwood Council (940 days);

¢ Wingecarribee Shire Council (687 days);

¢ Bega Valley Shire Council (595 days); and

¢ Tweed Shire Council (589 days).


The five councils that took the longest time to deal with development applications worth more than $20 million were:


¢ Rockdale City Council (894 days);

¢ Wyong Shire Council (766 days);

¢ Lake Macquarie City Council (554days);

¢ Bankstown City Council (553 days); and

¢ Blacktown City Council (521days).


These delays can increase the cost of building new homes and business premises by 15 per cent through extra interest payments on debt and through the money tied up in unproductive capital, Mr Gadiel said.


Until 2007, NSW was the nations number one state for building activity this shouldnt have been surprising given that its Australias most populous state, he said.


However, in 2007, Victoria stole NSWs title.


Victoria has never looked back in the last financial year, for every dollar spent by builders in NSW, $1.20 was spent in Victoria.


While NSW accounts for 33 per cent of the population, it makes up just 24 per cent of Australias building activity.


In the last financial year, work started on 52,000 new Victorian private sector homes, while in NSW work started on only 26,000 homes.


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