NSW Government releases 396 more planning principles – on top of 1,060 existing planning policies

03 March 2011

The NSW Government has today released another 90 pages of ˜guidelines with 396 new principles to further regulate urban development, according to the Urban Taskforce. The draft Centre Design Guidelines will be on top of the existing 1,060 Department of Planning policy documents regulating development in the state (the full list, as produced by the Department of Planning, is available here.


The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel said the development industry was staggering under the weight of a never-ending wall of regulation.


Were surprised that the NSW Government would propose 396 new planning principles without rescinding even one of the 1,060 existing policy documents, Mr Gadiel said.


Only last week, the Productivity Commission released a report saying that planning rules in NSW and Queensland were the most difficult to find and use.


Mr Gadiel said that no-one in the industry would ask for an unregulated environment.


But the level of regulation is mammoth and much of it is completely unnecessary, he said.


Many of the new rules proposed today require developers to do things that they would want anyhow.


But formalising them as principles will mean more consultants will need to be hired – to show compliance by generating even more mountains of paper.


Mr Gadiel said that some principles would make it easier for planning authorities to refuse development applications, even when proposals complied with zoning controls and height limits.


Unfortunately, NSW planning is in such a state of disarray that proposals that guidelines such as these are regularly used to block proposals that comply with a zoning plan and development standards.


These guidelines will deliver another layer of rules and, in many cases, will prevent legitimate and sensible proposals from proceeding.


Mr Gadiel said that NSW property development has been in serious decline since 2002.


In the last financial year, for every dollar spent by builders in NSW, $1.20 was spent in Victoria, he said. 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.


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


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