New Planning Unit to Remove Bottlenecks


The NSW government has formed a new unit within the Department of Planning tasked with unblocking and fast-tracking state significant developments stuck in the system.

The new planning delivery unit (PDU) will act as a central point of escalation and acceleration for development projects alongside government agencies to streamline the state’s planning processes.

Planning minister Rob Stokes said the unit would now focus directly on resolving issues in major development applications so that decisions could move ahead faster.

The news follows a spate of announcements by the state government during recent months, which has seen upwards of 48 major projects having assessments finalised and fast-tracked.

The NSW government estimates that $13 billion in economic benefit will be injected into the economy through these rapid-fire construction initiatives, lifting the economy out of an expected coronavirus-triggered recession.

Policymakers explained that assessments under the acceleration program would not skip normal checks, balances or community consultation processes, but would instead focus on projects that could commence within six months.

The planning unit will have four initial projects to prioritise in the coming weeks set to create opportunities for more than 66,500 new jobs and 50,000 new homes across Greater Sydney.

These include the Parramatta Road Corridor Strategy, which will eventually deliver 27,000 new homes and 50,000 jobs along Parramatta Road, St Leonards Crows Nest 2036 Plan—which will pave the way for the new Metro Station and 6,800 homes at Crows Nest.

New housing precincts in Glenfield, in Sydney’s south-west growth corridor, and Marsden Park North in the city’s north west growth corridor, have also been given the go-ahead—tipped to deliver 7,000 and 10,000 homes respectively.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the unit will also prioritise project delivery in regional NSW by directing planning panels to determine projects, where necessary, if a decision has not been made within 120 days.

“Now is the time for us to all work together to make decisions quickly and decisively to help create more opportunities for jobs and investment, right across the state,” Perrottet said.

“The PDU is another great example of how we need to do things differently in a post-Covid world and as we move from the response to recovery phase we need to look at fresh ways to get our state’s economy back up and running.”

State governments across the country have been dusting off plans and boosting decision-making frameworks to speed up the rollout of projects to keep people in work and restart the economy.

The Victorian government’s Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce last week signed off on seven development projects worth more than $1.1 billion.

That announcement followed earlier approvals for the country’s tallest residential tower and three mega-projects in late-April, followed by a fast-track announcement of five shovel-ready priority projects in late May.

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