Collaboration needed for building revival

By Lilia Guan
Earlier this year, the Council of Mayors of South East Queensland (SEQ) has completed a project known as Target 5 Days.
The initiative was developed to reduce residential development assessment timeframes by 75 percent in SEQ-based councils.
Following the success of this project, the Queensland Government has provided additional funding to extend the project to help address large subdivisions and operational works.
Development project manager, Scott Miller told Government News the new project, Development Assessment Process Reform – Operational Works and Large Subdivisions (DAPR-OWLS), will deliver a 25 per cent reduction in assessment times for these types of development applications.
The project will be delivered to a range of SEQ and regional high growth councils and is scheduled to be completed in August 2012.
“We have been trying to come up with ways to boost the building industry and improve the approval process,” he said.
“We initially came up with Target 5 Days during the Building Revival Forum, held by the Queensland Government in July this year.”
Mr Miller said this has been driven out of SEQ in conjunction with The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ).
“The three regional towns that have shown good support for the project are Mackie, Townville and Gladstone,” Mr Miller said.
“We are working with those councils individually to come up with a solution to revive the building industry in those areas.”
While the destruction caused by last year’s natural disaster in Queensland, may provide short-term work opportunities for some sectors of this industry, medium and long-term industry prospects are still of concern.
The state’s vital building sector was still reeling from the effects of the global financial crisis.
“Funding for the project has mainly come through the federal government and now the state government has also joined in,” Mr Miller said.

He said SEQ has had strong voice in putting forth projects to help revive the building industry in the state, because of the collaboration and focus by council staff and politicians.
“It’s a challenge for councils and a challenge [DAPR-OWLS] not to short cut building projects, but streamline the approval process to allow land be developed in a quicker way,” Mr Miller said.
Initial estimates show a financial saving for the development industry of approximately $17 million per annum through a reduction in associated holding costs.
Mr Miller said participating councils will continue to benefit from the implementation of more effective assessment processes.

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