LGNSW calls for transparency over e-planning costs
The association for NSW local councils has called on the state government to ensure transparency over future costs involved in the development of the new ePlanning Program public works planning portal.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) wants the state government to commit to guaranteeing that fees and costs will not be passed on to councils for the use and maintenance of the system, which will be mandatory for a number of councils.
LGNSW President Linda Scott said local councils support initiatives aiming to digitalise and improve the way governments interact with communities.
“We welcome the $10 million funding package to kickstart this initiative. However, local governments await a commitment from the NSW Government that guarantees fees and costs will not be passed on to councils for the use and maintenance of this mandatory system over the coming years,” she said.
“We have not seen anything from the government about how it intends to fund the planning portal over the long term.”
Scott said the 42 councils in Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Illawarra — where the government has mandated use of the e-planning system — have welcomed the government’s agreement to phase in its introduction, and support the aim of achieving 100% online development application lodgements by the end of the year.
But she said it is critical that the new system improve the quality of buildings and public places built by councils rather than merely improving the speed by which developments are processed.
“More than ever, we’re all focused on ensuring we realise the significant value and benefit that open, green spaces and well-designed spaces in our local environments bring for us,” Scott said.
“Improving the quality of planning approval can ensure a development doesn’t overshadow parkland, or will withstand our changing climate, or preserves the heritage of an area — these are all equally important markers of success alongside the speed of approval.”
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