Saturday, July 13, 2024

Premier takes axe to Greater Cities Commission

NSW Premier, Chris Minns, has announced that more than 300 staff from the Greater Cities Commission (GCC) and Western Parklands City Authority (WPCA) will be redeployed into the Department of Planning and Environment in a bid to boost planning efficiencies.

The Premier says the transfer of around 350 staff will reduce the overlap and duplication between agencies and redirect valuable but limited resources to bolster planning delivery against the Government’s priorities.

He said the move puts the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) in a much better position to focus on the job of overhauling the planning process and cutting red tape.

“We made a firm commitment prior to the election to streamline planning accountabilities and within 100 days of taking office we’re making a clear and positive step in that direction,” said Premier Minns.

“There’s no point having housing targets if you can’t deliver the housing. This is about ensuring we have the right team in place to deliver the housing and infrastructure we so critically need in this state.

“We’ve been upfront about the challenges we face.  And overall this will mean more affordable housing, and more supply overall.

He said NSW will require approximately 900,000 additional dwellings by 2041.

“Yet we have a projected housing construction shortfall of 134,000 dwellings over the five years of the National Housing Accord.”

Planning processing times have blown out from 69 days on average in July 2021 to 116 days in March 2023.

The NSW Productivity Commission has noted NSW builds fewer homes compared to other states, and this is a direct cause for why housing in NSW costs more than it does anywhere else in Australia, the Premier said.

“We need more supply in places people want to live and work, located near to the services people need if we have any chance of meeting our State’s, and particularly Sydney’s, housing demands.”

The Premier said the GCC Commissioners will continue to assist with metropolitan planning for the Six Cities Region and provision of advice to the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

DPE Acting Secretary, Kiersten Fishburn, will now work with the Commissioners and they will finalise draft housing targets and the six City Plans.

This work will embed the new Government’s rebalancing of population and housing growth for all 43 local councils and deliver on our commitments required under the National Housing Accord, the Premier said.

The WPCA Board will continue to set the direction for the building of Bradfield City and for economic development and investment attraction to the Western Parklands City.

Both GCC and WPCA Chief Executive Officers will now report to the DPE Secretary.

“There were too many agencies operating in the NSW planning system with similar responsibilities, meaning that accountability for delivery was blurred and confusing,” said Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully.

“The system created resourcing gaps in critical areas, while duplicating effort in others, and with the housing challenges we face, it wasn’t fit for purpose.

“We need to pool all our resources to deliver on the new government’s priorities including housing and jobs, and the infrastructure to support them.” 

More information can be found on the Department of Planning and Environment’s website.

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