Urban Taskforce supports survey on independent panels

30 January 2012

The Urban Taskforce has supported the Auspoll survey organised by the Property Council in NSW and its clear evidence that homeowners prefer independent expert panels to determine development applications for larger projects.


“The numbers in this poll are overwhelming in their support of experts over local politicians.” Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson said “Homeowners are supportive of councils looking after sports facilities, cultural activities and keeping the streets clean but do not extend this to the processing of DA’s.”


“Local politicians were seen as being unduly influenced by vocal minority interest groups and therefore less likely to make independent decisions.” Mr Johnson said,


“Importantly there was support for the current system of Joint Regional Planning Panels, particularly when their independent role was explained. For significant developments this jumped to 78% support.”


“The survey specifically asked residents about lowering the threshold for significant developments from the current $20 million to $10 million and nearly half of all respondents supported this.”


“The Urban Taskforce understands the political difficulty of amalgamating councils across Sydney which according to the Auspoll, two thirds of homeowners supported. We therefore see an expanded role for the Joint Regional Planning Panels, as being the best way to help support the growth Sydney desperately needs.” Mr Johnson said.


 If the Joint Regional Planning Panels are to do more work then they will need their own staff to provide assessment reports. Mr Johnson said. A pool of expert planners advising the JRPP could really speed things up as council planners seem to take a long time to produce reports.


“While independent panels are the best way to determine most local projects there will be times when projects of state significance will need the leadership of elected governments. Projects like the $6 billion new financial services precinct at Barangaroo, for instance, need leadership from the top as is happening with the Premiers commitment to its impact on the state economy.”


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


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