The NSW Government is investing $4.8 million to help regional councils transition towards a digital platform to lodge and assess planning applications.
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes said the Government had made the funding available through the Regional Digital Planning Program to ensure that the digital shift would include regional residents and councils.
“We’ve seen more than 55,000 development applications submitted through the e-planning system since councils started coming online in December 2018 which represents more than $82 billion worth of potential investment value for NSW,” Mr Stokes said.
“This real-time reporting is also significantly boosting transparency and accountability in the planning system, allowing everyone to know what’s been lodged and why a decision was made.”
Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock said the funding was available to help all regional councils to better support their communities.
“We’ve listened to regional councils who need some support implementing the e-planning platform which will ultimately make for a more simplified and transparent planning system right across the State,” Mrs Hancock said.
“Some regional councils are still completely paper-based, while others would like to provide better support for residents who may have limited digital literacy or access to the internet. This grant program was designed to help out in these situations.”
Mrs Hancock said each of the state’s 95 regional councils and the Lord Howe Island Board had the opportunity to receive a grant of $50,000 to assist with their transition to the Planning Portal.
The funding will help regional councils acquire new or upgrade existing IT systems, software and infrastructure and provide council staff the resources and knowledge needed to use the system, she said.
All NSW councils are required to be using the Planning Portal to lodge all development applications and complying development certificates by 1 July this year.