Friday, July 26, 2024

Planning league table kicks off for NSW councils

The NSW Government today announced it will introduce a performance league table to hold itself and local councils accountable for the approval of more housing as NSW works towards its commitment of 377,000 homes by mid 2029 under the National Housing Accord.

Minister for Local Government, Ron Hoenig said the NSW Government had been clear that addressing the housing crisis was a shared responsibility, and all levels of government must do their part.

“Local government has a critical role to play in approving housing across NSW,” said Mr Hoenig.

As councils assess approximately 85% of all residential development applications, a new Statement of Expectations and league “performance” tables will be critical to confronting the housing crisis, said the Minister.

A look at the new council planning performance league table.

In addition to council planning data, State agencies concurrence and referral timeframes will also be published.

The Government said Regionally Significant Development Applications referral times to planning panels will be published from August, State Significant Development assessment timeframes for infill affordable housing will be published from September 2024 and TOD accelerated precinct assessment timeframes in 2025.

This data will monitor the State Government’s performance so that it also is held accountable, said Mr Hoenig.

“The State Government is instituting a range of measures to support councils but where there is continuing underperformance despite that support, I will step in.”

“As Minister for Local Government I have the authority to issue Performance Improvements Orders to councils to rectify issues of ongoing underperformance.

“The NSW Government is serious about addressing the housing crisis and while this is a last resort, we will explore every avenue available to us in order to build more homes.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully, has released a new Statement of Expectations Order that establishes timeframes for councils on development assessment, planning proposals and strategic planning.

The council league table and Statement of Expectations Order are part of the NSW Government’s Faster Assessments program, he said.

“…If we don’t measure performance then we can’t monitor it properly,” said Mr Scully.

“Councils approve the vast majority of residential development in our State, so tracking their performance is critical if we together want to meet our housing targets. But we will also track the performance of the State government as well to hold ourselves to account.

“The updated Statement of Expectations, alongside improved monitoring, reporting, support and compliance initiatives will help councils and the State to speed up development assessments and improve transparency and accountability in the planning process.

“The NSW Government will work collaboratively with councils and support them to meet assessment expectations.

“There is $200 million in financial incentives available to councils to help achieve housing targets and improve planning performance including development application timeframes. The funding will help deliver local infrastructure including roads, open spaces and community facilities for growing communities.”

The financial incentives will go towards grants for councils to fund more green space such as parks, sporting facilities and smaller pocket parks, plus maintenance of local streets and footpaths which councils maintain.

“We are committed to building a better NSW with more homes so young people, families and workers have somewhere to live,” said Mr Scully.

To view the council league table, visit here.

To view the updated Statement of Expectations, visit here.

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