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Thursday, February 14, 2008

NSW Development Crisis

A property developers' lobby group says "radical" changes to the state's planning laws are needed to save New South Wales from a social and economic crisis.

In a submission to the State Government's planning review, the Urban Task Force says the system needs to better integrate the development of housing, workplaces, shopping and recreation areas. It says Sydney's population is expected to grow by more than 1 million people by 2031, meaning more homes, industrial land, and commercial and retail space will be needed.
The task force's chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, says these demands cannot be met under the existing planning laws.

Mr Gadiel says NSW will fall further behind other states without "far-reaching reform" to streamline the process.

"The Urban Task Force would like to see quicker planning approvals," he said. "If the government agency doesn't deal with them or doesn't respond in 90 days, they should be deemed approved.

"We want State Government agencies coming back to councils quicker with their concurrences or approvals, or if they've got a problem, they need to say what those problems are so developers can address them. New developments can take easily 12 to 14 months to be approved or even longer," he said.

"Frankly, the development industry has been voting with its feet. It's been developing in Queensland and Victoria instead of NSW because it's just not profitable to do so here."

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