The NSW Premier’s Priorities in the recently announced NSW State Plan – Making it Happen includes a requirement that 90% of development applications for housing must be approved in 40 days but many applications are for multi-unit dwellings that are taking far too long to approve, says the Urban Taskforce.
“The setting of targets for housing approval times is welcome but the measurement must take into account the number of dwellings in each development application,” says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson. “Currently a single house can be approved within 10 days through the NSW Housing Code but projects costing over $20 million that can include hundreds of apartment dwellings are averaging more than 200 days according to the State Government’s own performance monitor.”
“The data in the government’s Local Development Performance Monitor for 2013 –14 for Metropolitan Sydney indicate that the gross mean days taken for approvals for projects over $20 million is 207 days and for projects over $50 million is 230 days. As Sydney’s housing supply is moving towards more apartment buildings it is important that the planning system supports this with efficient assessment of development applications.”
“The Premier’s Priorities should also measure the number of dwellings completed in a year for the Sydney metropolitan area as an under supply will continue to force housing prices up. The previous State Plan included a target for the number of new dwellings to be delivered in Sydney each year.
The Department of Planning and Environment’s predictions indicate that an average of 33,200 dwelling completions are needed each year for the next 20 years but this figure has not been achieved over recent years.
“The new State Plan includes a ‘State Priority’ to increase housing supply but the target is for housing approvals rather than housing completions across the state. The priority is to deliver 50,000 approvals across the state which is certainly achievable as 61,000 new dwellings were approved in the 12 months up to July 2015. The Urban Taskforce supports the NSW Government’s objective to deliver additional housing supply but we believe a specific focus should be placed on the approval and completion of apartment developments.”