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Planning Portal frustration

Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke: “The Planning Portal is making it hard to do business.”

Councils across the Central NSW, including Federation Council are reporting their absolute frustration with the NSW Planning Portal to the NSW State Government.

The portal was designed to deliver a more efficient and optimised planning system for NSW and fast track the development application (DA) process.

But it has become an extra level of administration to navigate through for both the developer and Council.

“Councils right across NSW are reporting having to employ extra staff to manage the administration burden when the region is already experiencing a significant shortage of planners,’’ Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke said.

“Councils want to get on and assess applications, so people can get on and build. It is hard enough with rising costs, skills shortages and supply shortages without the significant frustration this portal is causing.

“Prior to the new system, councils’ planning departments would offer face-to-face pre lodgement meetings that would cover off on what was needed, and a timeline. Now there is no human interaction and a real human disconnect during the application lodgement process for our communities.”

Mayor Bourke said the idea of one stop streamlined, online system is welcomed – but the portal has not been implemented in that fashion.

“Having to repeatedly lodge the same information multiple times over for; development application, construction certificate and section 68 for a simple development is creating unprecedented inefficiencies at a time when all councils have received and are processing an unprecedented number of applications,” he said.

“There is a lot of repetitive, time-consuming processes and a noticeable lag time between information requests. The download and upload capability in the system needs to be increased. This is not a function of individuals or councils’ internet speed; it is a system issue.

Federation Council and other Central NSW councils are calling for the Department of Planning and Environment to review the system and adapt it to significantly increase efficiencies and processing times whilst importantly also providing a user friendly, intuitive and streamlined facility that works for all stakeholders.