Wednesday, May 29, 2024

NSW Govt invests $5.6m in AI planning trial for councils

NSW councils will soon have the opportunity to trial artificial intelligence (AI) in their local planning systems following a $5.6 million investment from the NSW Government.

As the state battles a housing crisis and shortage of planners, the NSW Government says it has been looking for new and innovative ways to support councils and speed up development assessment times.

The AI in NSW Planning project was tasked with identifying areas of the development application assessment that were causing unnecessary delays and would benefit from the implementation of AI.

“This is about modernising the NSW planning system by making it more efficient,” said Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully.

“We can achieve this by giving our talented planners the best tools possible.

“The delivery of new homes will only happen if the planning system is working at full capacity.

“I am confident AI can help accelerate DA assessments and reduce the administrative burden on planners.”

Three technologies have now been identified and will be available to councils for trial through the AI Solutions Panel and Early Adopter Grant Program.

They are:

Minister Scully said councils collaborating on joint grant applications could receive up to $500,000, while single council applications could be eligible for up to $200,000 to trial the identified technologies.

Council staff determine development applications for approximately 85% of all new homes in NSW. This funding will allow councils to trial recommended AI technologies and encourage innovative ways to accelerate DA assessments, he said.

“The recommended AI products will help councils reduce average DA assessment times by quickly identifying administration and data input errors,” said Mr Scully.

All councils can apply for grants through the Early Adopter Grant Program.

“This grant program will encourage councils to trial AI and identify products which can help meet their needs.”

Grant applications are open for three weeks and close on 22 May 2024. Successful grant recipients will be notified by June.

For more information, visit the NSW Planning website.

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