Planning decisions needed as NSW housing approvals dip

The latest housing approval numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate a dip for NSW compared with previous years so a special focus will be needed on planning decisions, says the Urban Taskforce.

“Only 4,227 homes were approved in trend terms in January 2016 compared to 5,375 in 2015 and 5,420 in 2014,” says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson. “While monthly figures can go up and down we are concerned at the trend that appears to be developing.”

“The NSW Government is currently in the middle of some major reform issues in planning and local government that are important but are likely to mean there is less focus on the detail processes of the planning system. The reform of local government is essential but during the process of amalgamation there must be a transition structure to ensure timely processing of planning applications. One example of this is that a Voluntary Planning Agreement negotiated in Hornsby Council must now also go to Parramatta City Council adding significant delay.”

“The Urban Taskforce while being supportive of the amalgamation of councils believes that a broader cultural issue in councils needs reforming so that the councils become more efficient and effective in their support of new development. It is with some concern that the reformist CEO of Liverpool Council seems to be under attack partly for making his council more efficient and this could send a negative signal to other reformist CEOs.”

“While the Greater Sydney Commission is an important initiative for metropolitan governance it is important that during the early months of establishment the planning panels focus on large planning proposals and that the long awaited District Plans are completed. As the planning panels are to be chaired by the District Commissioners it is important that the final two commissioners are named soon.”

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