The NSW Government is backing councils with funding and resources to move a backlog of planning proposals and development applications (DAs), and deliver more local housing.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the $11.5 million Unblocking Homes Program will provide targeted support, to help fast-track the delivery of tens of thousands of homes currently stuck in the system.
“We’re building on our $2.8 billion 2022 Housing Package announced in this year’s Budget, with targeted help for councils to drive more local housing delivery,” Mr Perrottet said.
“It’s timely support which will provide more opportunity and certainty for first home buyers, under-resourced councils and for the construction industry.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the support includes a new Regional Housing Flying Squad which would help regional councils clear development applications faster and speed up the delivery of new homes.
“We know there’s a shortage of qualified planners in some parts of the State. This is about overcoming that with a flying squad of experts who can help councils review development applications faster and move projects into construction,” Mr Toole said.
“We trialled this approach earlier in the year so we know it works. We’re now expanding it to ensure we are making an impact in the communities that need it most.”
Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes Anthony Roberts said the Regional Housing Flying Squad is on track to assess more than 2,400 new homes, saving hundreds of hours of council planners’ time.
“Councils have done it tough in recent years with skills shortages, bushfires, COVID-19 and floods all contributing to a local planning backlog, and an increase in average assessment times for local DAs from 69 to 85 days between July 2021 and July 2022,” Mr Roberts said.
“We’re here to help with support for complex applications and assessments, freeing up council time and speeding up approvals to get more shovels in the ground sooner.”
Minister for Local Government Wendy Tuckerman said, as at 15 September 2022, there were 107 housing rezoning proposals currently under assessment with potential for 87,583 rezoning lots.
“There were also nearly 10,000 residential development applications under assessment with the potential to deliver some 82,842 homes,” Ms Tuckerman said.
“The Unblocking Homes program will see the NSW Government partner with councils to resolve issues in complex assessments. This will help tackle the backlog and fast-track approvals to deliver more housing more quickly for our growing and diverse population – including social and affordable housing for people in need, Aboriginal communities and seniors.”
The $11.5 million Unblocking Homes Program includes 7 new and ongoing initiatives:
- Regional Housing Flying Squad (expansion following successful pilot);
- Planning proposal support and expert assessment for prioritised housing projects (new project);
- Planning Delivery Unit Regional Case Management and Planning Concierge;
- Regionally Significant DA capacity building and faster assessments;
- Local Housing Strategy Implementation;
- Regional Housing Strategic Planning Fund; and
- Faster Local Assessment Grant.
This article first appeared in nsw.org.au.