Councils funded to use AI for development applications

Sixteen NSW councils have received state government funding to use artificial intelligence to speed up development applications.

Paul Scully

The Early Adopter Grant Program incentivises councils to trial new technologies aimed at improving the quality and accuracy of DA information.

The program is part of a $5.6 million investment by the state government to introduce artificial intelligence into the planning system.

Councils assess approximately 85 per cent of all residential development applications in the state but the process is often beset with administrative delays, duplications, mistakes, and site-specific requirements that aren’t met, planning minister Paul Scully says.

“These are all issues that could be identified and resolved before a development application even arrives on a planner’s desk, leaving … planners to approve homes more efficiently,” he said.

“Introducing AI into the planning system is about reducing the administrative workload of planners so that they can get on with their main job of planning.

“It also helps applicants as it reduces delays by making sure all the required information is provided without repeated requests. This will free up their time and help build more homes faster.”

It’s hoped the technology will save time by helping to cut requests for more information.”

According to the government, additional information was needed for about one in three of the nearly 500 applications accepted into the Regional Housing Flying Squad Program in the last year, with applicants taking an average 42 days to respond.

The combined saving of not having to request additional information on this group alone would be around 6300 days – or the equivalent of 17 years.

“If that is applied across the nearly 60,000 applications that are submitted in NSW each year, it means a saving of hundreds of thousands of days,” Mr Scully said.

The next phase of the project will examine technologies that can work with the NSW Planning Portal to make artificial intelligence available to all applicants.

MAV gets on board with AI

Mayor Lana Formoso

Meanwhile MAV has received a $500,000 federal grant for the state’s local government housing innovation program which seeks to accelerate housing supply, including using AI to expedite planning.

As well as delivering AI procurement support for councils the program aims to gain support for greater density development, and look at under utilised public land and the re-use of council owned buildings for housing.

 “The Local Government Housing Innovation Program will resource and support all Victorian councils to continue to play their role in managing population growth and increased well located housing supply in neighbourhoods and towns across the state,” MAV President Cr David Clark said in a statement.

MAV was partnered in its application for the grant by Greater Dandenong City Council.

Mayor Lana Formoso said Dandenong is the best performing council in Victoria at having planning applications decided within statutory periods and is well-placed to lead the adoption of AI and other innovative technologies.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at  

Sign up to the Government News newsletter

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required