CEO’s speech – UDIA TV with Kiersten Fishburn and Brett Newman 03.09.2020

The following is an excerpt of “From the CEO’s Desk”, presented on UDIA TV on 03.09.2020

Welcome everyone, my name is Steve Mann and I am the UDIA NSW CEO. Thank you for joining us today for this episode of The Signature Series on UDIA TV, featuring Kiersten Fishburn, the new Coordinator General of the Planning Delivery Unit (PDU) and Brett Newman, CEO City of Parramatta Council, who we will hear from shortly.

The Productivity Commission’s Green Paper released last month highlighted that the planning system is failing to deliver economic outcomes because it is slow, overly complex, prescriptive, inflexible to changing needs, and therefore is a driver of continued lack of housing supply and poor housing affordability in NSW. The desperately needed reforms to the worst planning system in Australia is starting to unfold bit-by-bit this year, and the Planning Delivery Unit is poised to provide a critical role as both a bridge to systemic reform, as well as a planning system congestion buster.

The most recent housing data shows that new dwelling approvals are down 46% from peak in September 2016, and apartment approvals are now down 66%. This cliff fall in approvals underscores the urgent need to unblock the supply pipeline, both to support the economic recovery and to make up ground on the widening gap between projected supply and demand for housing in Greater Sydney. The Productivity Commission has identified the Planning Delivery Unit as having a key role in minimising red tape and complexity.

There has been widespread disappointment across industry with the DPIE lead Planning System Acceleration Program Tranches failing to deliver significant project approvals outcomes across the majority of private sector projects. DPIE is now focused on medium term acceleration initiatives and Local Councils have now signed up to deliver acceleration programmes. This critical for changing mindsets in Local government to deliver a housing led recovery in NSW.

As the former CEO of Liverpool City Council, Kiersten is in a unique bridging position to appreciate both sides of the equation, although we know it comes with significant challenges.so I’m looking forward to hearing her thoughts on collaboration and communication to re-energise the housing supply pipeline.

Our industry has a central role to play both in the economic recovery through and beyond COVID and in the creation of a Liveable, Affordable and Connected Greater Sydney. The Metropolis of Three Cities vision of the GSC is still the blueprint for the future direction of Sydney, so it’s great to have Brett here today as CEO of the Council in the heartland of the Central City to hear his views on collaboration in Parramatta and how the City of Parramatta might be working with Kiersten into the near future to create a strong and vibrant Central City.