DPIE Planning Delivery Unit

The Planning Delivery Unit was announced on 1 July 2020 led by Kiersten Fishburn (former Chief Executive at Liverpool Council). The Planning Delivery Unit fulfils the promise of a “one stop shop” to remove blockages under the planning system so projects can move more quickly.  

This one stop show is a critical part of the UDIA’s campaign to Make Planning Work and Project Bounce Back to create a housing led economic recovery.  

It is intended that it will: 

  • operates a project management service for industry, councils and other government agencies 
  • ensures agency involvement at appropriate levels, focusing advice on relevant issues 
  • ensures appropriate resources to support assessments, fix backlogs and build capacity in councils and agencies including a “flying squad” for councils and dedicated coordinators in agencies. 
  • realigns agency referral processes in collaboration with councils and agencies to support continued rollout of ePlanning and ‘back of house’ processes improvements 
  • focuses on collaborative whole of government solutions to projects and when needed will also operationalise the use of the Planning Secretary’s legislative step-in powers. 

The Planning Delivery Unit may become involved with projects that are delayed to: 

  • concurrence or referral requests undetermined by a government agency within the statutory time limits permitted under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000;  
  • unresolved council assessment matters are preventing determination with assessment time exceeding 120 days; or 
  • multiple complex or significant environment issues such as flooding, bushfire, contamination, heritage, ecology, transport, infrastructure or natural/ mineral resource constraints. 

It is unclear how this corresponds to the initial focus given to the Unit by the Minister to focus on: 

  • The Parramatta Road Corridor Strategy: This strategy will allow planning proposals and development applications to begin being lodged that will deliver up to 27,000 new homes and 50,000 jobs along Parramatta Road.  
  • St Leonards Crows Nest 2036 Plan: Finalising this plan, after two years in draft form, will allow the new Metro Station at Crows Nest to progress and unlock an extra 6,800 homes, 16,500 jobs and significant new green space.  
  • Glenfield Precinct: Resolving the re-imagining of the Hurlstone Agricultural College site will allow a new mixed-use precinct to be developed, with a sporting hub, enhanced local centres, and up to 7,000 new homes.  
  • Marsden Park North (and West Schofields) Precinct: Finalising this Voluntary Planning Agreement will unlock up to 10,000 new homes, and see 18 new playing fields and local parks delivered as well as improved road and pedestrian connections across both precincts.  

These are all complex projects and UDIA is concerned that while important they may distract form the urgent need for the Planning Delivery Unit to help development assessment. Over the past four years approval times have blown out 100 days for DAs over $20 million to 357 Days. Despite the number of development approvals falling to 33,936 in the year to April, a 44% drop since the peak in 2016. 

We will be engaging closely with the team to ensure that there are early results to help make planning work in NSW.  

Read the UDIA’s Media Release here.