Townsville City Council has engaged directly with businesses and community members to improve Council’s Development Assessment process.
Culminating this week, a series of eight workshops saw staff from Council Planning and Approvals hearing from 32 individuals representing industry and community about their experience of dealing with Council.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said Council enables industry and individuals to make Townsville a city of growth, and that requires a user-friendly Development Assessment process.
“Nothing speaks louder than evidence, so our Planning and Approvals team is listening to people who have been through the assessment process,” Cr Hill said.
“Development Assessments can be time consuming and challenging, so the people who have been on that journey can help Council improve the process.”
Planning and Development Committee chairperson Mark Molachino said a diverse range of business owners and community members attended the workshops.
“The 19 commercial business who attended were a cross-section of industries including professional consultants, plumbing contractors and building engineers. One of the improvement opportunities they identified is the quality of communication and assistance provided by Council staff,” Cr Molachino said.
“It was important for business owners and community members to feel comfortable in giving open and honest feedback, so Council engaged independent facilitator Len Kosova from LK Advisory to run the workshops.
“Len asked people to talk about their experience of the Development Assessment process so that strengths and pinch-points are identified.
“Early indications from this week’s workshops suggest that Council can reduce legislated assessment timelines by as much as 20 percent.
“Townsville welcomes investment, so streamlined development assessment processes help us achieve population growth and industry investment targets.”
Townsville Committee Chair of the Property Council of Australia, Simon Walker, commended the Council on its engagement approach.
“Property is Australia’s largest industry and the Property Council of Australia is the voice of that industry, bringing commitment to ongoing collaborative engagement on important issues impacting the industry,” Mr Walker said.
“We’re excited to see Townsville City Council engaging with local Townsville businesses on its Development Assessment processes.
“Streamlined, clear and consistent development processes benefit business and industry and enhance confidence. This in turn helps attract investment to Townsville, ensuring our long-term economic success.”
Council will use the workshop participants’ recommendations to streamline Development Assessment processes, improve the customer experience and enable Council staff to identify continuous improvement opportunities.
Based on the success of this week’s collaborative workshops, Council will look for opportunities to hold similar engagement in future.