Moves to extend fast-track approval system commonsense: developers

08 February 2010

Todays moves by the NSW government to consider extending its fast track approval system for public sector projects to the private sector have been welcomed by the Urban Taskforce.

The government’s announcement was made by the NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally.


The Taskforces chief executive Aaron Gadiel said that there had been a blitzkrieg of planning approvals issued in record time for public sector proposals under new rules introduced last year.


Private sector proposals have still been stuck in a ponderous 1970s planning system, Mr Gadiel said.


The governments strong support for its public sector projects has been great for creating jobs and boosting economic activity, but the private sector would be capable of doing so much more.


There is no reason why the same planning system should not apply equally to the public and private sectors.


More than 3,200 public housing homes have been approved in NSW under new fast-track planning rules introduced 12 months ago.


Approvals for 1,015 new public housing homes have been published in the last 50 days alone thats an approval rate of 20 new homes a day, Mr Gadiel said.


Private sector developers who want to provide housing for owner occupiers and low-to-middle income renters have still been mired in red tape.


Right now, many private sector proposals are unable to get off the ground because of unrealistic council requirements, Mr Gadiel said.


There are more than just economic benefits for having the same rules for both the public and private sector.


Community amenity may be impacted if the only apartments in an area are public housing.


Private sector developers of residential, commercial and retail projects should have access to the same fast-track system available to public sector projects.


Without such support, residential development in certain areas may be artificially skewed.


Likewise communities may be deprived of access to local retail services and conveniently located jobs.


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the first six months of the public housing construction program (April September 2009), work started on 1,090 new public housing homes in NSW.


This means that one in ten new homes in this period were public housing homes, compared to the previous two years, where only one in 25 new homes were public housing.


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


For every $1 million in construction expenditure, 27 jobs are created throughout the broader economy.


The construction activity made possible by property developers contributes $78 billion to the national economy each year and creates 849,000 direct jobs.



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