Overview

This review has focused on how to eliminate unnecessary delays while improving the necessary scrutiny that planning and building applications need to ensure quality outcomes.

A planning system where approvals take far too long leaves all participants in the system frustrated about the outcomes and is clearly not working as well as it should. Building approvals that have not prevented a series of systemic problems are clearly in need of review.

This review has looked at the root causes for why planning and building approvals have become so complex and time consuming and, in many cases, less effective than they should be. This discussion paper has identified 27 points in the approvals chain where specific short and medium-term improvements can be made.

Many of these issues have been identified in the past and individual councils have already made significant efforts to address these. What is needed is adoption of best practices, reforming the rules and simplifying processes, along the entire approvals chain.

There are many decisions-makers involved along the pipeline and reforming the planning and building approvals system will require coordination across all of these. There is scope to improve the interactions between all decision-makers and potentially deliver a significant efficiency dividend as a result of these reforms.

A range of estimates has been provided by various parties of the economic cost of avoidable delays in the $33 billion construction sector. These appear to lie somewhere in the order of $400 to $600 million a year – or up to 2 per cent of the value of the sector. This would impact housing affordability and reduce delays and costs.

This discussion paper sets out what we have heard from stakeholders, the conclusions we have drawn from looking at the data and the analysis of council approvals processes being undertaken by PwC.

The Commissioner would like to thank the advisory board of Bill Kusznirczuk, Kate Roffey and Radley de Silva as well as the review team for all their hard work on this discussion paper. Thanks are also due to the many councils, industry groups, associations of professionals and others with an interest in planning and building approvals for the time and guidance they gave us as we developed this paper. We look forward to their feedback.

We welcome submissions on the proposed improvements set out in this Discussion Paper, in particular stakeholders’ responses to the following questions for each proposal:

  • Are there benefits from this approach?
  • Are there other approaches which warrant consideration? What are they?
  • Are there specific examples where these or similar approaches have already been adopted and, if so, what were the benefits of doing so?
  • Are there other factors that should be considered?

  • The formal consultation period has now closed. If you would still like to make a submission please email the review team at contact@betterreg.vic.gov.au. A final report, including specific recommendations on implementation will be submitted in December 2019.

    Survey

    In responding to the proposed improvement(s), please consider the following questions:

    • Are there benefits from this approach?
    • Are there other approaches which warrant consideration? What are they?
    • Are there specific examples where these or similar approaches have already been adopted and, if so, what were the benefits of doing so?
    • Are there other factors that should be considered?

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