The New South Wales Government will fast-track construction planning processes in order to keep industry workers in jobs amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

New South Wales Planning and Public Spaces Minister, Rob Stokes, said the construction and development sectors will be vital in keeping people in jobs and supporting the state’s economic recovery.

“We are fast-tracking assessments to keep people in jobs, boost the construction pipeline and keep our economy moving,” Mr Stokes said.

“Our economic recovery will, in many ways, be longer and harder than the health one, and it’s essential we do everything we can now to keep our state moving forward and allow work to continue wherever possible in line with the best medical advice.”

 The Planning System Acceleration Program will:

  • Create opportunities for more than 30,000 construction jobs in the next six months
  • Fast-track assessments of State Significant Developments, rezonings and development applications (DAs), with more decisions to be made by the Minister if required
  • Support councils and planning panels to fast-track local and regionally significant DAs
  • Introduce a ‘one stop shop’ for industry to progress projects that may be ‘stuck in the system’
  • Clear the current backlog of cases stuck in the Land & Environment Court with additional Acting Commissioners
  • Invest $70 million to co-fund vital new community infrastructure in North West Sydney including roads, drainage and public parks to unlock plans for the construction of thousands of new houses

New South Wales Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, said the property and construction industry is one of the key drivers of jobs and investment in the state, employing one in four people.

“In the past six months alone, the New South Wales Government has approved projects and rezonings worth more than $15 billion and created more than 24,000 jobs across the state – that trend must continue as we move through this crisis,” Mr Perrottet said.

Mr Stokes said the planning system would undergo further reform to ensure it enables economic growth once the COVID-19 crisis is over.

“This will pass and when it does, the planning system will be ready to continue driving economic productivity across the state,” Mr Stokes said.

Commenting on the announcement, Committee for Sydney CEO, Gabriel Metcalf, said, “This is a smart move – it’s one of the ways that Government can minimise economic damage and even lay the groundwork for recovery.

“This announcement stands alongside the other measures from the state and federal level to replace incomes, but this one has the special advantage of not costing public money.”

“Speeding up the planning process is an immediate action that government can take. The measures announced today will help keep projects on track and maintain a pipeline of work through the current crisis and as the economy recovers.”

Further details of additional reforms will be released in due course.

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