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Regional Housing Flying Squad

Boosting council capacity to unblock regional housing.

The NSW Government is boosting the capacity of councils to speed up assessment times and deliver much-needed housing in regional NSW. 

The Regional Housing Flying Squad – initially launched as a pilot program in April 2022 – is a free resourcing program for regional councils that allows councils to outsource the assessment of residential  development applications (DAs) to a team of planners in the Planning Delivery Unit (PDU).

The program has been adjusted to offer monthly intakes for single dwellings and dual occupancy DAs, with a quarterly intake for all other residential DAs continuing. 

Expressions of interest

Further expressions of interest will open from: 

  • 4 to 8 December 2023 for all residential DAs. 
  • 29 January to 2 February 2024 for single dwelling and dual occupancy DAs.
  • 26 February to 1 March 2024 for single dwelling and dual occupancy DAs.

Program guidelines and useful resources

To support councils throughout the program, the department has created the Regional Housing Flying Squad Program Guidelines. These guidelines include useful information about the program, the application process and guidance on how to apply.

Read the program guidelines

For additional information, councils can:


There will be no limit to the number of DAs councils can put forward for assessment, provided they meet the program’s requirements.

To be eligible for the Regional Housing Flying Squad, councils must: 

  • be one of NSW’s 96 regional councils
  • nominate DAs that will deliver housing 
  • nominate DAs that have been accepted by council in the Planning Portal prior to the EOI closing date
  • commit to employing a student, cadet, trainee, or graduate planner during 2023/24, for a minimum period of 3 months, as a demonstration of council’s commitment to growing their own planners (this only applies to councils with 3 or more FTE planning staff on the payroll).

Evaluation criteria

DAs that councils nominate through the EOI process will be evaluated against the following program criteria: 

  1. Diverse or affordable housing
    Delivery of social housing, affordable housing, build-to-rent, co-living, key worker housing, group homes, housing for seniors or for people with disabilities, emergency accommodation and secondary dwellings will be prioritised.
  2. Aboriginal housing
    Delivery of Aboriginal housing will be prioritised.
  3. Dwelling impact
    The ratio of the number of dwellings proposed in the DA to the number of dwellings in the respective local government area (LGA).
  4. Dwelling volume
    The number of dwellings proposed by the DA.
  5. Council’s DA backlogs and timeframes
    Consideration will be given to councils experiencing increased DA backlogs and above average DA assessment times.
  6. Geographic considerations
    Ensuring that support is provided equitably to all councils across regional NSW will be considered, as well as councils that have experienced natural disasters such as bushfires and flooding.

Council applications will be reviewed by an evaluation committee made up of representatives from the Department of Planning and Environment and the Department of Regional NSW.

Last updated: 10/11/2023