NSW planning ground to a halt – time for a new broom – ABS data

Urban Taskforce CEO, Tom Forrest, today said that new ABS data shows that planning approvals plummeted in the month of November, and it is time for a fresh approach.

“In the month of November (before Omicron hit), every other State in Australia was booming.  But not here in NSW.  Planners across the sector downed tools.

“The new Minister for Planning, Hon Anthony Roberts, has a big job to do to turn the NSW planning system around.  The appointment of Mick Cassell as the new Secretary is a good start – but a massive shift in culture is required.

“Planners must look to work through problems and assist applicants through the process.  The “mark and punish” approach must change if we are to get approvals going in the right direction and put ease the rapid escalation in prices.  A culture of “computer says no – talk to the hand” has become all too common and it is not acceptable.

“ABS data, released today, shows that NSW began the year with promise – but the wheels fell off later in the year.  This might be partly explained by Council elections and by the changes associated with the Departure of Gladys Berejiklian from Parliament and Rob Stokes from the Ministry – but industry is begging for a new approach.

“The bottom has completely fallen out of the apartment approvals sector.  Apartment (multi-unit dwellings) approvals in the month of November 2021 were the lowest since 2011 at only 972 (this compares to 1,892 in the month of October and 3,741 in the Month of September 2021.

“On an annual basis, apartment approvals at 30,579 over the last 12 months) were better than the last two lamentable years, but way below the 46,000 plus achieved in 2016.

Over 72,000 approvals (all dwelling types) are needed if NSW and Greater Sydney are to meet their new home completion targets.

“Urban Taskforce calls on the NSW Government to scrap all new planning measures that will increase the cost of the delivery of new homes.  This starts with the abandonment of the Draft Design and Place SEPP.  The market simply cannot afford the changes proposed in this Draft SEPP (currently on public exhibition as a draft)”, Mr Forrest said.

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