EPlanning: local government calls for transparency over future costs

NSW councils have worked with the State Government’s to support the development of the new ePlanning system, on the condition that no fees and costs are passed on to councils and communities over the long term.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said councils supported initiatives that sought to harness the potential of innovation to create digital and emerging technologies that improved how governments interacted with communities.

“We welcome the $10 million funding package to kickstart this initiative,” Cr Scott said.

“However, local governments await a commitment from the NSW Government that guarantees fees and costs will not be passed on to councils for the use and maintenance of this mandatory system over the coming years.

“We have not seen anything from the government about how it intends to fund the planning portal over the long term.

“For the 42 councils in Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Illawarra, where the government has mandated use of the ePlanning system, we have welcomed the government’s agreement to phase in its introduction, with the aim of achieving 100 per cent online development application lodgments by the end of the year.”

Cr Scott said it was also critical to ensure our planning system delivered quality buildings and public places, rather than just improving the speed by which developments were processed

“More than ever, we’re all focussed on ensuring we realise the significant value and benefit that open, green spaces and well-designed spaces in our our local environments bring for us,” she said.

“A building may last 100 years, so it is important to get it right.

“Improving the quality of planning approval can ensure a development doesn’t overshadow parkland, or will withstand our changing climate, or preserves the heritage of an area – these are all equally important markers of success alongside the speed of approval.

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