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Approvals systems require overhaul 25/02/2017

When undertaking an urban development project, navigating the planning and environmental approvals processes is a huge task that can take years to complete.

When undertaking an urban development project, navigating the planning and environmental approvals processes is a huge task that can take years to complete.

Multiple layers of red tape, numerous government agencies plus local authorities to deal with and a general lack of clarity at times regarding what is required can lead to time frame and cost blowouts becoming a regular occurrence.

UDIA has been working with all levels of government over several years to try and refine and improve both the planning and environmental approvals processes to achieve better outcomes.

We are working toward better outcomes for the development projects themselves, for the environment and for the broader community and home buyers.

Despite many years of collaboration trying to streamline processes, one of the biggest contributors to unnecessary added costs to land and housing remains long approvals time frames.

That is why an efficient and effective planning system and certainty in environmental approvals processes are the final two of UDIA’s six key election priorities for the next state government.

Both systems need to be reviewed to provide more certainty in terms of policy requirements, processes and time frames.

The need for an overhaul of approvals processes is critical now more than ever, not just because of time and costs, but because our world is changing at even greater speed than ever before and people’s lifestyles including work, leisure and family dynamics are evolving.

We need to be able to provide housing that meets these changing needs, and to do that we need a flexible and responsive planning system that encourages innovation.

So how can that be achieved?

By introducing a performance based reporting system on planning matters to require stakeholders in the approvals process to provide data about assessment time frames, policy requirements and decision making structures.

This would provide more transparency and accountability, and lead to a clear evidence base of where there are barriers in the system that should be addressed.

The state government should also work with industry to understand the commercial realities of development and develop a practical strategy for the future that identifies change and a less restrictive approach to urban development.

Reviewing and simplifying state and local planning and environmental policies that are inconsistent, and placing limitations on local governments’ ability to modify or undermine state planning policies would also go a long way to improving outcomes.

It is critical we work together to achieve a policy environment that seeks to provide the best possible spaces for people to live, in an efficient and sustainable way, so we have the right places for the future.

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