Developers happy with reforms

Developers have welcomed the proposed changes to the planning systems outlined in the NSW government's white paper released on Tuesday.

Developers have welcomed the proposed changes to the planning systems outlined in the NSW government's white paper released on Tuesday.

It is designed to streamline and speed up development applications with a greater degree of public consultation, which developers, including Mirvac, Stockland, Westfield, GPT Group, Australand and Lend Lease, among others, have been demanding for years.

While none would comment on specific projects, the planned reforms would alleviate red tape required to get permission for developments such as Mirvac's Harold Park in Glebe, Stockland's recent East Leppington deal and Lend Lease's hospital and infrastructure projects.

Under the reforms revealed by Premier Barry O'Farrell and Planning Minister Brad Hazzard, there will be more community consultation through local councils, a rise in infrastructure financing, improved planning and a simpler development assessment procedure. They are aimed at simplifying development applications and financing.

Already the NSW government has abolished Part 3A of development applications, which took power away from the community, but there will be a more rigorous approach to building standards.

Stephen Bull, of Stockland's commercial property business, said: "We welcome the government's move to streamline the NSW planning system to create greater clarity and certainty for all stakeholders in the planning process. This will help speed up approval for residential and commercial property projects."

Mr Hazzard said within five years the government was aiming for 80 per cent of applications to go through a faster code assessment process, which had the potential to save the community and business around $174 million a year through reduced delays. He added the system must accommodate all developments from small houses to large mixed-use projects.

Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson said the group agreed with involving communities early in the planning process but was concerned about how representative the community would be.

"Developer contributions have been simplified with both local and regional levies proposed," he said. "As long as the costs of these levies do not kill off projects, the system seems to be a good improvement."

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