I have watched with interest the debate that has prevailed in recent times over Minister Rau’s planning reforms.
As a builder I have great empathy for the lengthy times it takes to get the most minor of projects through the planning system. As a councillor on the other hand I have true respect for the role the community plays in ensuring that development in their area is appropriate.
Interestingly the people frustrated at both ends can be the same people on different sides of the fence for the next development.
Builders and therefore their clients (you and your neighbours) are rightfully frustrated by the time it takes to get an approval for their development, more often than not an addition to their own home. Councils have borne the focus of the angst that has created, often seen as the meddling cause of the delays. You are likely to have been a council critic. I know I have.
The truth is the system, as designed by the state government, is the cause not councils. There have been many changes proposed in the bill the minister has put before Parliament that are good. They will definitely help to improve the system significantly.
There are changes proposed that need to be at the forefront of change but which will be delayed due to I understand the cost of implementing them. I speak specifically about setting up a date based development plan regime. This is an area that should have a focus long before those who may participate ion the approval process are questioned.
A major focus for the ministers bill is focused unfortunately on who may be involved however. He is set on removing both residents and elected members of council out of the approval process.
I intend in the next 24 hours or so to put my thoughts on the removal of both residents and elected members from the process in separate blog posts.
So watch this space.