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NSW planning changes spark concerns

By webmaster
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The New South Wales’ government’s decision to transfer a reported $9 billion worth of residential, commercial and retail projects back to local councils for approval has sparked concerns about more red tape for property developers.

Urban Taskforce CEO Aaron Gadiel said he respected the O’Farrell Government’s decision to repeal the Part 3A planning provision but that reform was required immediately.

“Part 3A has helped paper over deep seated problems in the planning system by overcoming illogical rules and unjustifiable prohibitions with a flexible approval process,” he said.

The regular planning system gave councils a complete veto of all rezoning decisions, with no appeal rights for applicants, Mr Gadiel said.

“Part 3A was a safeguard against arbitrary council decisions blocking efforts to renew and expand our urban communities,” he said.

“With Part 3A now gone for new residential, commercial and retail development, there is no check on unreasonable zoning decisions by councils.”

Mr Gadiel said that NSW was number one for building activity until 2007, but that title was since lost to Victoria and the state has never regained it.

“The value of Victorian building activity is 12 per cent higher than in NSW,” he said.

“Per head of population, investment in Victorian building is running at one-and-a-half times that of NSW.”

Mr Gadiel said that, under the current rules, he doubted councils would be willing or able to approve new development at a level necessary to close the gap between NSW and Victoria.

“The need for interim reforms will become increasingly obvious as the councils begin to exercise their new powers over large projects.”

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