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Momentum grows for Australia wide best practice planning and development regulations

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I Media Statement - S20/98 Page 1 o f 2

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Other Media Statements

[Michael Ronaldson, Pariiamentary Seeretarvl I Departmental 1

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[Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government! [Minister for Transport and Regional Development]

R e l e a s eTHE HON ALEX St Minister for Regional Development, Territories and I 11 March 1998 S20/98


The Federal Minister for Local Government, Alex Somlyay has told the Australian Council of Building Design Professionals meeting in Canberra today that reform of Australia's nine systems o f development and planning controls has the highest priority with the Federal government.

Mr Somlyay launched a paper on Reform o f Development Assessment Processes published by the Australian Council o f Building Design Professionals which sets out principles for improving land and building approvals processes.

The Minister said the reduction o f time and money spent by business on complying with paperwork and levels o f government regulation in the planning field will increase job creation and improve Australia's overall competitiveness.

"I am concerned that the building industry may be paying too much for development fees. Some councils may be also imposing some unjustified charges and this needs to be closely examined," said Mr Somlyay.

He said business have complained that Australia's 700 plus local government bodies can make inconsistent and varied planning decisions which often leads to expensive litigation before courts and tribunals. The legal costs are passed onto the clients and the wider community.

"As the Federal Minister for Local Government I have responsibility for implementing recommendation 29 o f the Prime Minister's More Time for Business statement which seeks to reform the development and planning regimes.

"State and local government cooperation with the building and development sectors is the outcome we seek to achieve more efficient and effective planning systems that respond to client needs while protecting the community environment and quality control standards," said Mr Somlyay. 04/06/1998

Media Statement - S20/98 Page 2 of 2

He said the Commonwealth recognises that State and Territory governments have already undertaken major reforms to their planning and development practices, but more remains to be done.

"The practice of referring development applications between State and Local government adds greatly to the time and cost factors associated with approvals.

"The momentum and case for reform is growing when hold ups in the planning regime which retard business are exposed.

"In 1991 it was estimated that some 250,000 referrals annually passed between State and Local government. This involved 75,000 substantial development applications with job creation and investment implications.

"When some 72% were approved without modification, but after extra delay, the scope to make significant savings in this area alone cannot be denied," said Mr Somlyay.

He said the National Office o f Local Government has already sponsored several workshops with industry and local government representatives to harmonise and streamline development control systems.

"Last week, State planning officials and local government representatives met in Canberra to discuss a draft industry strategy paper.

"Some o f the key issues include; the elimination of unnecessary referrals and concurrence requirements, the inclusion o f efficient appeals processes and dispute resolution, creation o f clear accountability o f approval authorities to business and exploitation o f online technologies to track applications making systems more accessible to business clients.

"By all accounts the meeting was very positive and I am hopeful o f receiving positive responses from State and Territory planning ministers in the coming months as we work through some o f the impediments to reform o f planning and development regulations," said Mr Somlyay.

Further information: Graeme Hallett (Minister’s Media Adviser) 02-6277 7060

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