The State Government wants to fast-track development applications to stimulate the economy. Photo: Brett Wortman
The State Government wants to fast-track development applications to stimulate the economy. Photo: Brett Wortman

Council on board with DA fast-tracking

FASTER development applications and more planning approval-free projects could become the norm under changes to state planning laws.

The Government’s planning reforms to support productivity, investment and jobs during the coronavirus pandemic were welcomed by Coffs Harbour City Council.

Fast-tracking locally and regionally significant developments is a centrepiece of the Planning System Acceleration Program and when asked about priority projects for the area, CHCC pointed to an influx of residential DAs.

“We continue to receive a large volume of DAs for home alterations and additions, these are included in the fast track process, they present good sources of income for local tradies and are always important home upgrades for the individual families involved,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said Council had contacted the Government on the initiative which coincided with their own move to provide more resources to fast-track DAs.

“The outcome is that we will be sharing information on best practice,” they said.

The planning program was initially designed to fast-track assessments of ‘State Significant Developments’, DAs and rezoning with more decisions delegated to the NSW Planning Minister, Rob Stokes if necessary.

Since mid June, councils have been invited to take a more active role in the process as the government also broaden the scope of works which can be started without planning approval.

Mr Stokes said the program would help communities rebound from there impacts of coronavirus faster.

“The NSW Government has developed new programs and processes to fast-track the State’s planning system during the pandemic, and we want to share what we’ve learnt with councils so they can follow suit,” he said.

The changes had not been welcomed everywhere however, with Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliot criticising the fast-tracking process.

Mr Elliot said his Baulkham Hills electorate needed to be given time to build critical infrastructure before more high and medium density housing was built.



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