NSW record development approvals are not converting to completions

The NSW Government’s Local Development Performance Monitoring Report for 2014/15 outlines record development approvals of $34 billion, says the Urban Taskforce.

“The report on development across NSW indicates a jump in overall approvals to $34.10 billion through 90,183 planning approvals over the 2014/15 financial year,” says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson. “Approving a project however does not mean it will be built as demonstrated by the fact that only 51,705 Occupation Certificates were issued. These completed buildings may have flowed from the 84,159 approvals in the previous 2013/14 year but there are still a large number of approved projects that don’t seem to proceed to completion.”

“The data in the Local Development Performance Monitoring Report generally reflects the boom in construction the state is experiencing but there are a number of worrying trends in the reported data.”

“The report is focused on a large number of small projects with 96% of DAs being under $1million as are 99% of Complying Development Certificates. Projects over $20 million only represent 0.3% of approvals yet they represent 27% of the value of all approvals and contain most of the apartments. These projects are determined by Joint Regional Planning Panels (JRPPs) and their approval times have increased from 233 days to 256 days in the last financial year.”

“The Urban Taskforce is concerned that the trend to longer approvals by the JRPPs will continue under the Greater Sydney Commission’s (GSC) Planning Panels as the panels will now be dominated by local government representatives. The GSC’s planning panels are to be chaired by a District Commissioner who is nominated by local councils who also nominate two other members to the 5 person panel. Our expectation is that the panels will become less supportive of development when the changes are implemented.”

“Another concern from the report data is that the number of projects going to the Land and Environment Court has jumped significantly from 284 to 388 in the recent financial year. The projects are taken to court by applicants and after considerable costs and time delays only 15.4% are dismissed as not being appropriate for approval.”

“The swing towards Complying Development Certificates is very positive with these now reaching 32.2% of all development approvals. The Urban Taskforce is keen to see complying development extended to more building types that have become reasonably standard within the community.”

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