The NSW Government has released a package of reforms to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for public consultation. The reforms will help deliver the 725,000 new homes forecast to be required by 2036 to house an extra 1.7 million NSW residents.
Proposed updates to the Act include:
- investigating incentives for developers to consult with neighbours and the surrounding community to ensure disputes are resolved prior to a Development Application proceeding to council
- new powers for the Planning Minister to direct a council to establish a local planning panels of experts and community representatives
- a standardised format for development control plans, produced in consultation with councils, to promote consistency across the confusing array of up to 400 formats currently used in NSW
- authority for the Department of Planning and Environment Secretary to ensure the efficient processing of developments that require separate approvals and advice under different NSW legislation
- measures to ensure that local environmental plans are kept up to date
- extending and improving the complying development assessment process that currently covers most new one or two storey dwellings, to include greenfield developments and terrace housing.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes said NSW was experiencing the longest housing construction boom in the state’s history. The latest figures for the 12 months to October show 74,577 approvals, the second highest on record.
“There’s still more work to do and these planning reforms build on our impressive results over the last five years by making it easier to build new homes,” Mr Stokes said.
Making the planning system more efficient is one way the NSW Government will ensure housing supply gets to homebuyers fast. It is a Premier’s Priority to have 90 per cent of housing approvals determined within 40 days.
The proposed amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 are on public exhibition until 10 March, 2017.