New development proposals approved under the Government’s major projects assessment system last year exceeded $73 million.
New development proposals approved under the Government’s major projects assessment system last year exceeded $73 million.

New development worth $73 million

APPROVALS under the State Government’s Part 3A planning process have meant $73 million of new development for the Mid North Coast, according to Planning Minister Tony Kelly.

Mr Kelly said a report had found new development proposals approved under the Government’s major projects assessment system last year created a record level of capital investment and jobs.

He said the Major Development Monitor 2009-10 found $18 billion worth of new projects were approved under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

This included 123km of Pacific Highway upgrades.

“These 125 projects had the potential to create 62,971 construction and operational jobs,” Mr Kelly said.

“This is the highest capital investment value and jobs figures for approved new Part 3A projects since the assessment system began in August 2005.

“This report illustrates the good planning outcomes that have come about through the use of the Part 3A assessment system to consider projects of regional or State significance.

“This includes resolving key environmental or amenity issues through the rigorous Part 3A system, which has been tailor-made to deal with large and complex projects.

“Importantly, it also shows the role these outcomes have played in supporting economic growth and jobs in NSW.

“There’s little doubt that these approvals have been a significant factor in NSW recording seven quarters of economic growth and leading Australia out of the global financial crisis.

“Since the Part 3A system came into place, some 469 new projects have been determined, with a potential capital investment value of $58.24 million and the potential to create more than 185,000 jobs.

“To put this in perspective, the total value of new Part 3A approvals last year was only slightly less than the capital investment value of some 70,000 development application approvals given by local councils in 2008-09.”

Mr Kelly said regional NSW was a big winner from 2009-10 approvals, with some $12.2 billion worth of overall approvals, including modifications.

Mr Kelly said the report also busted some of the many myths about the Part 3A system, showing that:

  • refusal levels were comparable, and could be argued as actually exceeding, the council-run assessment system with two projects refused but another 48 projects stopped from going on exhibition due to inadequate documentation;
  • legal appeals are available against all development decisions, excluding the very small number declared critical infrastructure, with the department winning the majority of cases;
  • participation by local councils and the public was a key factor in assessments, with more than 20,000 submissions lodged for proposals assessed under the Part 3A system.

The report also outlined key improvements to the system during 2009-10, including the publication of submissions online and the employment of three compliance officers based in the Upper Hunter Valley.

The report showed that the department doubled the number of audits and inspections of approved projects to ensure they were operating in accordance with consent conditions.

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