New rules on DA fees mooted

24 August 2011

The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure has prepared a draft planning circular that specifies what matters, associated with building and demolition works, are to be considered by a consent authority when calculating development application fees. The circular has been prompted by a recent Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry.

The planning circular recommends that an estimate of cost be prepared by a registered quantity surveyor for developments exceeding $750,000. It tells councils that they should make their own calculation of construction costs and use their own figure when there is a difference of more than 10 per cent from the estimate of the applicant.

The circular:

  • imposes new requirements that would not reduce the likelihood of the sort of dishonesty identified by the ICAC;
  • instructs councils to act improperly and outside of the law;
  • will result in applicants paying more than they are actually obliged to;
  • imposes new procedural steps with little real value; and
  • wrongly asserts that applicants do not have appeal rights.

The draft circular is available here. We have made a submission where we raised our serious concerns in detail – it is here.