Federal Government calls for reform of planning and zoning to increase productivity

The Federal Government’s response to the Harper Review of Competition Policy includes support for reforms to planning and zoning at state government levels, says the Urban Taskforce.

“The Harper Review raised many areas where competition was being overly controlled by governments and this included critical areas that the states are responsible for like planning and zoning,” says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson. “The review found many planning practices that unfairly favoured particular operators and zoning laws that were overly restrictive in regard to permissible uses.”

“The Urban Taskforce has championed a reduction in the costly and unnecessary red tape controls that many planning instruments include that restrict competition, and a more open market that benefits consumers and encourages efficiency and innovation.”

“Many regulatory planners seem to believe that their view on employment types and retail locations should prevail but they are often decades behind current retail market and consumer trends. Examples are council planners trying to keep industrial jobs in inner city locations when the structure of industry has changed and better locations are available, another example is planning controls that unnecessarily restrict retail outlets to major centres while arguing against smaller outlets that are distributed closer to where customers live.”

“Urban Taskforce members often find that the planning system can take excessive amounts of time to pass through multiple regulatory hoops that falsely claim to be public interest checks. The reality is that the world is changing fast in terms of jobs, shopping and living preferences and the planning system must not be a brake on innovation, efficiency, and productivity”

“The Harper Review recommendation 9, which has been supported by the Federal Government, calls for a simplification of development application (permit) processes and a broadening of zoning. The state governments must follow the lead of the Federal Government and move to further simplify planning processes. A complex planning system only ends up increasing the cost of housing and construction through expensive holding costs.”

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