NSW govt funds councils $25k to train planners

Grants totalling $25,000 are on offer for rural and regional councils to fund planning cadetships in a move by the NSW government to address skills shortages and cut a backlog in development applications.

Paul Scully

The grants, available for 64 applicants, must be used to fund tuition fees for one planning cadet, including  an undergraduate certificate, graduate certificate, diploma, bachelors degree, or masters degree in planning at a NSW university.

The Strong State Cadetship program is designed to ease the state’s current housing crisis and build momentum around urban planning and regional development, planning minister Paul Scully says.

Mr Scully says a shortage of planners has led to a 28 per cent increase in council DA assessment delays – from 69 days in July 2021 to 116 days in March 2023.

The minister says some positions in regional areas have been vacant for years and there are some cases where more than 80 per cent of planning jobs are unfilled.

“Councils and communities are crying out for a new generation of skilled young planners to replace those who are retiring at a rapid rate,” he said in a statement.

“This program is about building a new and exciting momentum around careers in urban planning and regional development.”

The Australian National Skills Commission Skills Priority List identifies planners as one of the jobs facing strong future demand, particularly in NSW.

 Applications close on June 9.

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