Councils across Central NSW are calling for roadblocks to housing supply to be removed and better enablement to fast-track development in the region.
“Since Covid and changes to the way Australian’s work, there has been an increased take-up of relocation to the regions,” said Lithgow Mayor, Maree Statham.
“If you add to that the significant construction activity in Central NSW and Lithgow’s proximity to Sydney the need for more housing is particularly acute,”
“As a member of the Country Mayors Association, I totally support their call for the Building Country Homes Program to be part of the September State Budget,”
Councils across regional NSW are short staffed while struggling with a complex regulatory framework as they try to fast track development applications and building certificates.
“We know we need to move faster, but it so very hard when wading through red tape.”
“The State has gone completely silent on its mandatory Planning Portal. Everyone struggles with this in regional NSW. Developers loathe it and Council has had to put on more staff, where we can find them, to help manage this clunky process that takes at least three times as long to process a development application,” said Mayor Statham.
“As a result of managing problems like the State Planning Portal and the State Biodiversity Offset Scheme, we actually need more staff. However, planning staff are hard to find. There is a Flying Squad set up by the Department of Planning to help with these shortages and process development applications– it needs to open its door wider to the needs of Councils including diversifying their assistance to other complex developments to keep up with the continuing development pressure,”
A particular concern in Central NSW is the need for more health and building surveyors.
“We are asking the NSW Government to extend the type of programs they have to grow and support a larger workforce of planners and building surveyors. This includes funded and supported training pathways,” said Mayor Statham. The Mayor concluded, “I agree with my peers on the Country Mayors Association when they encourage the NSW Government to give serious thought to streamlining development approval processes and filling the gaps in workforce shortages. In this way, regional councils will be able to do so much more in times of crisis and into the future to support good development and growth.”