The Department’s Planning Delivery Unit (PDU) has launched a new innovative program to boost the capacity of councils to deliver much-needed housing in regional NSW.
The program will help deliver key recommendations of the Regional Housing Taskforce recommendations to provide more certainty about where, when and what types of homes will be built by using the PDU to boost the capacity of councils to assess development applications (DAs) that lead to new housing.
By talking to councils and studying data from the NSW Planning Portal, it is clear to the NSW Government that councils across the state are experiencing a shortage of qualified planners, especially regional councils where the shortage is acute. Under-resourced councils have reduced capacity to assess DAs which means longer assessment times, fewer DAs being determined and ultimately delays in the delivery of regional housing.
Regional Housing Flying Squad
The PDU, which is facilitating the program, has engaged with a panel of planning consultants to conduct assessments for DAs for regional housing on behalf of councils.
Councils will be asked to nominate DAs that deliver regional housing, through a formal EOI process, and nominations will be assessed against predetermined criteria by an evaluation panel. PDU will allocate consultants to selected DAs, and consultants will report directly to council staff while conducting the assessments.
Once assessment reports are completed to the satisfaction of council, council or the relevant regional planning panel will determine the DA. PDU will finalise payment to consultants for their services, before 30 June 2022.
Councils may nominate multiple DAs for this program. Council EOIs will be evaluated against the program criteria below:
1. Dwelling volume
The number of dwellings proposed in the council-nominated DA
2. Dwelling impact
The ratio of number of dwellings proposed in the council-nominated DA to the population of the respective LGA
Delivery of affordable housing, social housing, Aboriginal housing or other forms of housing that are required in a particular LGA will also be considered
3. DA status
DAs that are at the assessment report stage (meaning RFIs, referrals and public exhibition have already occurred) will be prioritised, to increase the likelihood of the DA assessment being completed by 30 June 2022
4. Council’s support for approval of DA
Delivery of regional housing is a key aim of this program, so DAs that are generally supported by council and are consistent with both regional and local strategic plans will be prioritised
5. Geographic considerations
Ensuring that support is provided to councils across regional NSW will be considered, esp. LGAs affected by natural disasters (bushfire, flood, drought, etc.)
Council applications will be reviewed by an evaluation committee made up of representatives from DPE and the Department of Regional NSW.
- 14 to 25 March 2022 - EOI open period, with discretion for PDU to consider late applications
- 28 March to 1 April 2022 - Evaluation committee to review council EOIs and assign flying squad consultants to selected DAs
- 4 April 2022 - PDU to notify councils on outcome of EOI process
- 4 April to 30 June 2022 - Flying squad to prepare assessment reports for council DAs
For more information please contact [email protected].