Northern Territory edges SA in planning report card

By Rob O’Brien

The Northern Territory has topped the class with its development assessment processes with NSW struggling to implement reform, according to new research from the Residential Development Council (RDC) and the Property Council of Australia (PCA).

The Development Assessment Forum (DAF) Reform Implementation Report Card identifies progress by each state and territory on reforming development assessment.

According to the Report Card New South Wales came bottom with a score of 5.2 out of a possible 10, along with Tasmania (5.2) and Western Australia (5.3).

The Northern Territory came top of the Report Card with a score of 7.3, with South Australia a close second on 6.8 points.
PCA executive director Glen Byres said that despite its lowly score NSW had installed more transparency into their planning system through the introduction of panels.

"Last year the government started work on the planning reforms that went through the Parliament in 2008," he said.
"The introduction of independent panels were a good first step to make the system one in which people have confidence."
The Northern Territory success was due to a combination of reforms already in place, in particular the collation in 2007 of numerous and varied plans and policies into a single planning scheme.

“The fact that the Northern Territory Government is the single authority for statutory planning places the Northern Territory at a significant advantage,” said Karen White NT Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia.

“In the states, local councils add additional levels of complexity and delay into the planning system that we can all do without.

“Darwin City Council representatives already make up 40 per cent of the membership of the Darwin Development Consent Authority, and that is more than adequate.”

However, Ms White said the Northern Territory could not afford to rest on its laurels. The Report Card found that if governments around Australia implemented their commitments to reform their development assessment processes, South Australia would lead the scorecard.

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