The NSW Government has released new guidelines for councils in a bid to cut down on the alarming number of development applications (DAs) being withdrawn across the state.
Recent data shows 95% of DAs move through councils. However, 9,040 applications have been withdrawn since July 2021 – an average of 70 withdrawals per council.
While some councils had no withdrawals, 15 councils had more than 200 withdrawals.
“It’s beyond belief that more than 9,000 DAs have been withdrawn since July 2021 and it’s definitely not acceptable in the middle of a housing crisis,” said Minister for Local Government, Ron Hoenig.
“I’m concerned there may be instances of councils asking applicants to withdraw applications rather than assessing them, in a bid to reduce their DA processing timeframes.
“Council staff should make every effort to resolve issues before asking applicants to withdraw DAs, which can ultimately lead to less housing stock.”
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully said the new guidelines will help address the state’s housing shortfall and ensure the DA process is not delaying the pipeline of housing projects across NSW.
“We want to support councils by providing guidelines that make it clearer about when it is appropriate to withdraw a DA and when it is not,” he said.
“This clarity is needed to get more homes delivered and to clear what’s approved.”
Under the guidelines, councils will be required to accelerate DA assessment timeframes and not request unnecessary information or unnecessarily ask applicants to withdraw DA proposals.
The guidelines also require councils to direct adequate resources to their planning and assessment teams to fast-track DA assessments.
The Government says NSW will require approximately 900,000 additional homes by 2041.
“We need to increase our housing supply in NSW, and we need to act now to speed up the DA process,” said Minister Hoenig.
“Councils have a critical role in the planning process and we need them to work with us to get more people into homes sooner across our state.”
National Housing Accord data indicates the state has a projected housing construction shortfall of 376,000 homes over five years.
The Government says it will monitor the performance of councils in assessing development applications to ensure they are meeting expectations outlined in the new guidelines.
For more information visit the Department of Planning and Environment.