A Few ‘Quick Wins’ Could Improve NSW Planning System: Report


It is often derided as the worst planning system in the country, but a few “quick fixes” could help the NSW planning system resolve some systemic issues, new research suggests.

The report, commissioned by the Property Council of Australia, argues that a few immediate changes — finalising state strategic plans, revisiting rezoning processes, more diverse housing and calculating development contributions — could deliver economic growth, jobs and housing affordability.

The lead up to last weekend’s election was fraught with “toxic debate” about Sydney’s growth and development, Property Council NSW director Jane Fitzgerald said.

“We must [f]ocus on creating a planning system that encourages and supports good growth, bolsters transparency and delivers consistent and predictable decisions,” Fitzgerald said.

Related: Triguboff Sues NSW Premier Over Halted Development

The reliability and transparency of the NSW planning system should be among the “highest priorities” for the recently re-elected government, the report says.

Improving the process for rezoning, for example, could deliver a $2.37 billion uplift in gross state product and generate 16,000 new jobs.

Finalising state plans and policies that ensure appropriate local zoning, deliver infrastructure and ensure a diverse supply of housing would help meet population growth forecasts.

According to the Greater Sydney Commission, Sydney needs 725,000 more homes by 2036 — more than 40,000 new homes annually.

Another “quick win”: the greater supply of diverse housing by simplifying the approvals process for compliant development applications or creating code assessable pathways to improve certainty of outcomes.

The property industry group also recommends improving the clarity and consistency of total development contributions by publishing a development contributions calculator and the implementation of proposed e-lodgement system across all councils to streamline development processes.

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