DA processing still too slow: NSW report

A recent report has highlighted the need for an efficient development application procedure for NSW local councils.

NSW Planning Minister, Kristina Keneally has released the annual performance monitoring report on the state’s 152 councils and shires.

“Councils are the workhorse of the planning system, last year processing over 82,000 development applications worth $22.3 billion,” Ms Keneally said.

According to the report, the state’s average processing time for development applications in 2007-08 was 74 days, slightly improved on the previous year’s 76 days.

The waiting time varied widely, between seven days and more than five months, with Temora Shire Council being the fastest and Ashfield Council the slowest in the state.

Other top four councils were Temora, Hay, Broken Hill, Murrumbidgee and Berrigan councils, averaging between 10 and 20 days.

While councils such as Mosman and Strathfield considerably slashed their processing times, Ms Keneally conceded there was the need for reforms to boost efficiency. 

“It’s my intention that reforms to the planning system will help speed these applications up, lifting the burden of the planning system on working families and small businesses, and freeing council staff to focus on bigger projects,” she said.

Projects worth between $500,000 and $1 million faced the longest wait of more than three months, while new single dwelling projects took 75 days.

Ms Keneally said while the Government was implementing strategies to enhance the planning system, more works still needed to be done.

“A revised housing code will mean that simple housing projects could be approved after they pass a checklist rather than a complicated development application process.

“This year, like last year, we still only had 11% of development projects approved in this simpler way, highlighting that we continue to need to reform this area,” she said.

Meanwhile, the state’s building activity experienced a downturn of 4.6 per cent hit by the continuing economic crisis. The total value of the development applications slightly increased $600 million to $22.3 billion.

The report can be viewed here.

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