Federation Council Mayor, Pat Bourke says the NSW Government’s planning portal is adding an extra level of administration for both Council and developers and has called for a review of the online system.
He says while the NSW Planning Portal was designed to deliver a more efficient and optimised planning system and fast track DA processes, the reverse has been the reality.
“Councils right across NSW are reporting having to employ extra staff to manage the administration burden when the region is already experiencing a significant shortage of planners,” he said.
“Councils want to get on and assess applications, so people can get on and build it is hard enough with rising costs, skills shortages and supply shortages without the significant frustration this Portal is causing.”
Mayor Bourke says prior to the new system being introduced, Councils’ planning departments would offer face-to-face pre-lodgement meetings.
“Now there is no human interaction and a real human disconnect during the application lodgement process for our communities.”
He said the idea of a one-stop streamlined, online system was welcome – the portal has not achieved that outcome.
“Having to repeatedly lodge the same information multiple times over for; development application, construction certificate, section 68 for a simple development is creating unprecedented inefficiencies at a time when all Councils have received; and are processing an unprecedented number of applications,” he said.
“There is a lot of repetitive, time-consuming processes and a noticeable lag time between information requests. The download and upload capability in the system needs to be increased.
“This is not a function of individuals or councils’ internet speed; it is a system issue.
“Council is standing with other Central NSW councils and is calling for the Department of Planning and Environment to review the system and adapt it to significantly increase efficiencies and processing times whilst importantly also providing a user friendly, intuitive and streamlined facility that works for all stakeholder.”