NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced significant reforms to the state’s planning system which has been “held back by a handful of loud voices and too much red tape”.
In an address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia on Wednesday the premier pledged to deliver “the simplest and most effective planning system in Australia”.
The push for reforms come amid high-profile development rejections and widespread criticism with the state predicted to become the slowest growing economy in the country.
According to BIS Oxford Economics forecasts, the state's annual growth rate in GDP and employment for the financial years from 2022 to 2025 in NSW will be 2.1 and 0.8 per cent respectively.
Last week the state’s independent planning commission rejected Star Entertainment Group's $529 million hotel in Pyrmont after years of delays amid community objections.
Berejiklian's reforms now intend to “supercharge” the development cycle in order to “create jobs and boost the economy” while new creating new hubs across NSW to “ensure people can live in communities close to their work.”
“The current system does not give investors certainty—some planning proposals are taking years to determine and there are too many layers of bureaucracy—which is unacceptable,” Berejiklian said.
“Our state can’t be held back by a handful of loud voices and too much red tape.”
Berejiklian signalled for a renewed and efficient development phase for both big and small projects across the state, including increasing and simplifying developer contributions to pay for infrastructure.
The premier also said the government would “preserve our heritage, create beautiful new public places, and promote good design” while increasing transparency, reduce assessment timeframes and make e-planning mandatory for metro councils.
Berejiklian believes e-planning—the ability to lodge development applications online—will hold both the state government and councils to account over applications.
Planning and public spaces minister Rob Stokes said the reforms would be introduced to the planning system over the coming months to fast-track projects in high growth areas.
“This is about demystifying and restoring confidence in the planning system so we can get on with the job of delivering fantastic new places right across NSW.”
“We have already made significant changes to the planning system over the past few years and these changes will keep driving our state forward.”
Berejiklian has continued to work to the rollout of the massive $69 billion capital expenditure bill over the next four years which includes funding for various metro rail projects linking the north-western outer suburb of Rouse Hill with the northern suburb of Chatswood and on to Sydney's south-west.
The government is also is planning to spend $14 billion on the western harbour tunnel and beaches link, to connect Sydney northern beaches with the city and ease congestion.
Berejiklian's forthcoming reforms will not require new legislation, with Berejiklian needing just five cross-benchers to get bills through.