Planning Bill reform savings illustrated by study

28.10.13After unveiling changes to New South Wales’ Planning Bill, an independent research group has highlighted that the reforms have the potential to increase the output of the region’s economy by $3 billion annually over the next 30 years.

The Centre for International Economics (CIE) has indicated the various changes that could occur due to the reforms to the planning bill, which will increase the number of jobs in the area, stimulate the economy and provide a major boost to business activity.

The annual benefits and savings to be earned from the reforms sit between $569 million and $1035 million, with one change being the cutting of delays and documentation costs for new projects – estimated to save the state between $107 and $192 million each year.

Furthermore, the bill would ensure land was being used in the most efficient and effective ways possible, helping to save between $291 and $565 million a year. Reducing the risks involved with new projects also has a potential saving of $298 million per year.

Phil Manners, a director at the CIE, said NSW has been underperforming in the housing industry for years, and with the number of opportunities the state has missed, “the economy has not grown as fast as it could have and housing has cost more than is necessary”.

He went on to say that the changes coming in under the reforms to the Planning Bill would have “significant and long-lasting” effects for the state’s economy.

Changes implemented by the NSW government earlier have already had major ramifications for the housing industry. In the 12 months leading to August, 41,309 new dwellings were approved in the state – the highest number in eight years.

The proposed changes to the bill represent the biggest alterations to the planning system in the state in 33 years, with Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard stating that these reforms are the best way to help improve the productivity of NSW.

“That means more housing and more jobs. Clearly, the construction sector will benefit but a better planning system will improve opportunities for other sectors including retailing, transport, entertainment and recreation, mining, manufacturing and agriculture,” said Mr Hazzard in an October 24 statement.

Mr Hazzard also said that, while housing starts have “improved dramatically”, there is still room for further improvement in order to provide for the growing population and aid the growth of the state’s economy through additional construction.

“The NSW economy is beginning to catch up with the rest of Australia, but, as the report makes clear, the overly complex, slow and costly planning system has not allowed NSW to adequately respond to economic and demographic changes,” said Mr Hazzard.

“The NSW economy is already rebounding, the housing industry is on the long road back and, with this legislation for a new planning system, the economy will be free to grow even faster.”

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