Govt plans to slash development approval times

AMBITIOUS plans to slash development project waiting times by 86-98% throughout regional Queensland can only occur if council planning departments are "king".

Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said planning departments needed "cultural change" so decisions could be turned around in a matter of days instead of months or a year.

He told a breakfast conference in Brisbane this morning that $250,000 funding would go towards investigating ways to improve development processes in places like Mackay, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Fraser Coast, Gympie and the Whitsundays.

"In the long run we'll make more efficient councils and therefore lower costs," he said.

"It will improve the ability for councils to meet challenges and growth trends.

"It will establish strong partnerships with the private sector rather than adversaries.

"Overall, it sends a message that councils can facilitate growth without growing the bureaucracy."

Mr Crisafulli said the funding, including $50,000 from the Local Government Association of Queensland, would enable councils to "have a look inside" and set a benchmark to reflect cultural change.

He said he unashamedly sought more efficient planning departments.

"What I want is that the planning department is king, that they have the ability to take in all the information from different areas and turn it around quickly," he said.

"If it's yes, how do we get it out the door as quickly as we can?" he said.

"If it's no, how can we get that message back as quickly as we can?"

Mr Crisafulli said he had received good feedback about streamlining development processes at a state level and wanted to ensure it filtered through to the local government level.

He said decisions would be swifter and fairer.

"There are some times when the environmental view is so strong that something can't occur," he said.

"There will be times when the need for infrastructure is so paramount that's going to be the number one priority."

LGAQ president Margaret de Wit said 20 of Queensland's highest growth councils had committed to take part in the project.

"That means the benefits will be very broad, and ensure that there are streamlined, consistent and cost-effective assessment services for most development applications in areas it matters most to adopt efficient ways of bringing building projects to market quickly,'' she said.

"This project will promote increased development activity and support jobs and economic growth through increased industry certainty and efficient assessment and approval processes.''


LGAQ development approval/rejection timeline reductions aims.

- subdivisions (20 or more lots) - from an average 364 days down to 60 days
- private low-risk or public operational works from 88 days down to two days
- residential developments from an average 93 days to 5 for low risk

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