From 1 July, home owners across a number of New South Wales councils will be able to lodge development applications (DAs) online.
Metro Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast and Illawarra property owners will be able to lodge DAs from the comfort of their home, ahead of a statewide mandate that will come into play from 1 July 2021.
The ePlanning mandate will also see a reduction in wait times for DA approval, it’s been reported.
According to the New South Wales government, 42 councils will be required to implement ePlanning from 1 July this year, which will be extended to encompass the remaining 86 councils by the middle of next year.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said ePlanning is transforming the state’s planning system and enabling information and data to be accessed from anywhere at anytime.
Calling it “a game changer for home owners”, Mr Dominello said “the average time taken by government agencies to respond to requests has been reduced by up to 20 days, with DA processing times being slashed by more than half in some councils”.
He said the initiative “puts the customer at the centre of the DA process by eliminating paperwork, allowing applications to be submitted anywhere in real time, avoiding delays and boosting transparency”.
Rob Stokes, the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, has said councils that make up the initial mandate account for two-thirds of all DA determinations in NSW, which will equate to $39 billion in development value for the state economy.
“Mandating ePlanning is one of the key ways we are transforming the NSW planning system to boost its timeliness, certainty and transparency as well as enabling housing supply,” Mr Stokes said.
“From 1 July 2020, councils and Principal Certifying Authorities (PCAs) operating in metropolitan areas will be required to start accepting and processing DAs, complying development certificates and post-consent certificates via the NSW Planning Portal,” the minister explained.
“It is vital to ensure that we use all the tools and innovations available to us to support and stimulate our economy during these challenging times.”
The government outlined that from 31 December 2020, it will be mandatory for these applications and PCA appointments to be completed on the portal, with councils and private certifiers able to opt in to ePlanning before the mandate takes effect.
A transition period will allow councils time to prepare their operating procedures and staff to implement ePlanning successfully before it becomes mandatory.