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eTradesman.com.au - Australia's Online Tradesman Directory

Planning Bottlenecks Cost Consumers

Master Builders Australia, Australia’s peak building and construction industry association, is calling for further planning reform and has put forward a ten point plan to reduce delays in the planning approval process and to deliver greater certainty and consistency in planning decisions. Mr Wilhelm Harnisch, Chief Executive Officer of Master Builders Australia said, “Unnecessary council delays for planning approvals add to builders’ holdings costs which in turn are passed on to homebuyers thereby impacting on housing affordability .” “Master Builders notes considerable work has been done to improve the current planning systems around Australia, but believes it has not gone far enough and that in some cases efforts have stalled.” Master Builders’ National Housing Council has put forward a ten point plan to redress current deficiencies in the planning approval process: 1. Increase the use of independent experts in the decision-making process. 2. Create a statutory framework for private sector certification. 3. Simplify compliance with planning schemes (as of right). 4. Improve accessibility and understanding of planning schemes. 5. Accelerate the use of electronic lodgement and tracking of planning applications. 6. Mandate the completion of council planning checklists at pre-assessment application stage. 7. Improve council mediation processes. 8. Adopt standardised planning application information across councils. Streamline referral processes to other approving agencies and authorities. 9. Standardise application forms and processes. 10. Reduce turnover of experienced planning staff. Mr Harnisch said, “An efficient and effective planning system helps drive investment and economic growth in our communities”. He said, “The ten point plan should go a long way towards fixing an increasingly ailing planning system and reduce the regulatory cost burden impacting on the building industry, thereby improving housing affordability. “Over 50 per cent of respondents to Master Builders’ March Quarter 2007 National Survey of Building and Construction believe that housing affordability will deteriorate further over the next 12 months, and 45 per cent expressed major or large concerns about planning-development approval delays. “According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, house builders paid out $740 million in interest expenses alone in 2004-05. A reduction of 15 per cent through further efficiencies and streamlining would mean cost savings of more than $100 million per annum to builders and consumers alike.” Source: Master Builders Association Media Relations<-i>
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