One-day turnaround for housing DA approvals, from a high of 75
Out with red tape
Housing development applications are taking a staggeringly fast one day to be turned around following red tape reforms by Liverpool Council.
The council’s chief executive officer Kiersten Fishburn said to get families into new homes sooner the council had introduced FastTrack.
Thanks to this online tool, 170 housing development applications have taken an average of a day to approve in the past 12 months.
Previously, many had taken 75 days, she said.
“A dedicated team within council begins assessment within an hour of lodgement, and generally visits the site on the same day”, Ms Fishburn said, adding “to help families do more with their properties with less delay and red tape”. FastTrack had now been expanded to include new dwellings, demolition, alterations and additions, outbuildings and pools.
The Property Council of Australia’s NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald said: “Time is cost, cost that gets added to the ledger and someone has to pay at the end of the day”.
Either developers walk away from projects considered “too costly or too hard”, or they pass on the costs to the new home buyers, she said.
“It’s great that Liverpool Council is at the forefront of digital planning applications in NSW” Mayor Wendy Waller said.
But ratepayers are being kept in the dark about how long other types of DAs are taking to be approved.
Council staff have refused repeated request by the Liverpool Leader to provide average approval times for 2016-2017 DAs; data not provided in the latest annual report either. Staff pointed the Leader to the Planning Department’s 2015-16 Local Performance Monitoring report, which showed the council’s median net determination time for Das as 47 days.
‘’As we included more types of applications, we will see rapid approval times and increased certainty for developers working across Liverpool – from mum and dad homeowners to commercial and industrial operators,” Cr Waller said when asked to explain a note in the council’s 2016-17 annual report saying only 47.74 percent of DAs were determined in 40 days.
Four of 180 complaints about the handling of a DA made to the Office of Local Government in 2016-17 were about the handling of a DA made to the Office of Local Government in 2016-17 were about Liverpool, which had the second highest number of staff allocated to its development assessment unit in 2015-16 behind City of Sydney.
Published by The Liverpool Leader dated 28 February 2018