GROWING THE SOUTH-WEST | Changes to planning rules could make it harder

The November 15 amendments to the NSW Planning Act will add cost and further delays to new-home-buyers, says the Housing Industry Association.

“The NSW Parliament endorsed widespread changes to the state’s planning rules but they do very little to address Sydney’s worsening housing crisis,” HIA executive director David Bare said.

“Changes to the rules affecting complying development, a fast-track approval pathway for minor types of building works, including single homes on land zoned for houses, requiring further consultation including sending a copy of a certificate and related plans to neighbours before approval is issued is completely contrary to the purpose of this type of approval.

“This could involve the printing and posting of hundreds of letters to neighbours for minor internal renovations or extensions, the cost of which will be passed onto the home-owner.

“A bigger concern is the change that let councils charge compliance cost orders to investigate and enforce complying development rules. The imposition of a further cost onto home-buyers and renovators will only worsen Sydney’s housing affordability problem.

“This is despite councils’ already having powers to investigate and enforce breaches of planning rules, including the ability to fine people who do the wrong thing and charge an extra levy to issue the fine.

“The government must consider the impact of this levy on housing affordability. It must set the amount and cap the levy to ensure it’s fair and reasonable.

With the changes made to the state’s planning rules, achieving the premier’s housing approval target will get further out of reach.

“There needs to be tight control regarding the collection and use of these types of funds to ensure they don’t simply become another revenue-raising opportunity for councils.”

Statistics released by Planning and Environment this week show between 2014/15 and 2015/16 there was only a small increase in complying development certificates issued (32 per cent in 2014/15 and 33 per cent in 2015/16).

A key performance indicator for the government is the premier’s target of 90 per cent of housing approvals to be determined in 40 days. The stats show during 2015/16 only 75 per cent of housing approvals met that. “With the changes made to the state’s planning rules, achieving the premier’s housing approval target will get further out of reach.”

  • Housing Industry Association website.

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