Walk from Sydney to Perth befor you get a Development Approval

21 January 2008

Todays NSW Government performance report on local councils shows the time it takes to get a development approval has blown out by more than 10 per cent for 37 local councils.

Average approval times have blown out for Ballina (by 38 per cent), Great Lakes (35 per cent), Liverpool (26 per cent), Newcastle (23 per cent), Canterbury (22 per cent), Baulkham Hills (19 per cent), Kogarah (18 per cent), Kiama (16 per cent), Cessnock (13 per cent), Sutherland (13 per cent) and Leichhardt (11 per cent).


You would be able to walk from Sydney to Perth in the time it takes some councils to approve a simple change to your home, according to Aaron Gadiel, CEO of the Urban Taskforce.


A person could walk 4,000 kilometres in 100 days – less than the time many councils take to approve a development application. Leichhardt council is again the slowest in the State taking an average of 118 days to approve a development application.


It takes Leichhardt Council 38 times longer to approve a development application than the best performing council – which takes just 3 days, Mr Gadiel said.


These figures are averages only – many development applications take up to 9-12 months to get resolved. Some even take years to get sorted out.


This is a very disappointing performance.


Mr Gadiel said todays report could not be ignored.


This is more evidence that the States planning system is in need of major reform, Mr Gadiel said.


Delays and disputes in the development application process are hurting the ordinary homeowner.


Research shows that delays in approvals cost up to $4 billion a year in NSW.


These delays can increase the cost of building a new home by up to 15 per cent, Mr Gadiel said


More matters can be handled by private certifiers without the involvement of council.


Theres no reason why approving a pergola or a minor home extension should take more than seven days.


Applicants for small developments should have quick and easy access to arbitration if a council has not issued a swift approval.


Larger matters should be dealt with by regional planning panels instead of councillors.


These panels would include council representatives.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers. The NSW development industrys annual turnover is $35 billion and employs 180,000 people, accounting for six percent of the States total employment. It is the fifth largest contributor to the State economy.


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