Urban Taskforce Supports A Review Of The Independent Planning Commission

The report by the NSW Productivity Commission ‘Kick-starting the productivity conversation’ demonstrates that NSW must improve productivity particularly in the planning system, says the Urban Taskforce.


“The wide-ranging report on NSW productivity raises serious concerns about the NSW planning system.” says Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson “The report states that DA approvals in NSW typically take twice as long as in other states, that NSW has 6 times more business and industrial zones than Victoria and that the NSW Apartment Design Guidelines are adding significant economic costs to housing. High-density commercial development proposals typically take 410 days to be assessed which is 4 times longer than other jurisdictions.


“NSW Treasury Secretary, Michael Pratt says ‘productivity growth has declined in New South Wales.”


“The report has a section on Minimising Red Tape and Complexity in the planning system with a particular focus on approval times.”


“While the report is a refreshing overview of the NSW planning system a number of key issues are not addressed. One of these is NSW Treasury’s requirement that all caps on local infrastructure contributions are removed next July. This could add up to $70,000 to the cost of a home and make some projects unfeasible. It seems strange that this big increase in housing costs is not mentioned.”


“Another major impact on State Productivity is the massive amount of time and cost that the planning system imposes on applicants when the consent authority never wanted the project to proceed. Projects like the Star hotel in Pyrmont and the South St Leonards proposal have led investors and developers into spending massive amounts of money on preparing planning applications only to find that an approval was never likely to be given. This lack of clarity in the planning system is costing millions of dollars in wasted money, time and resources, and deters  future investment that could have helped with the state’s productivity.”


“The report supports higher density areas as having higher labor productivity but it doesn’t advocate or promote sustainable apartment living around transport nodes yet it states that nearly half of the increase in Sydney housing stock over the last 25 years was through apartments.”


“The issues of inter- generational equity is also not addressed where communities of older people will fight against more affordable urban living developments in their area that their own children or grandchildren could afford.”


“With 37 percent of NSW construction activity since 2001 being residential development the report states that ‘imposing regulatory efficiencies can yield significant economic benefits.’ “


“The Urban Taskforce believes that NSW has a massive problem with its planning system in terms of impact on the states productivity. There is no mention in the report of the dramatic reduction in housing approvals in the state and the major impact this will have on productivity. We are keen to work with the Productivity Commission on how NSW can lead the country with a planning system that minimises red tape and at least halves approval times while advocating for quality development that connects to public transport systems.”


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