Property Council calls for ‘bolder’ planning reforms

The head of the Property Council of Australia has said that the NSW planning system is the “worst in the country” and needs “radical surgery, not a nip and a tuck”.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes and the state government’s proposed changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) have been welcomed by the Property Council of Australia as a good step towards streamlining the planning system and boosting housing supply in NSW.

However, Property Council NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald emphasised that while the proposed amendments to the Act would help increase housing supply in Sydney, the city’s planning system still needs more work.

“The NSW system needs radical surgery, not a nip and a tuck. Currently, it’s the worst system in the country and while the package of proposals will certainly improve it, it’s a shame the Minister hasn’t been a little bolder in the reforms he has outlined,” Ms Fitzgerald commented.

“For example, we are disappointed that the Minister has not included reforms that would see more development proposals that comply with set criteria or standards (“code assessable development”) able to be fast-tracked reducing red tape and costs in the system,” she said.

Ms Fitzgerald highlighted that other jurisdictions have incorporated more code assessment for more types of development and NSW should be “leading, not following”, in this regard.

“In NSW, we simply need more homes built, more quickly because home ownership is becoming elusive for a whole generation,” she said. “We need a planning system in NSW which delivers housing to make ownership accessible again. We need a better, cheaper, faster NSW planning system to make that happen.”

Ms Fitzgerald also pointed out the according to the Greater Sydney Commission, an extra 725,000 dwellings are needed to be built over the next 20 years.

“To reach this figure we need urgent changes made to the planning system so that we can turbo charge supply,” she said.

“When it comes to building the homes NSW needs, the property industry needs clarity and certainty on who makes planning decisions so homes can be built more quickly without the cost of delays adding to the final price of a home – we strongly welcome the changes that will address this.”

[Related: Lowest level of first home buyers in 25 years]

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Francesca Krakue

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