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Byron Shire
November 27, 2022

DA processing improvements sought

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Duncan Dey (Greens). Photo supplied

Two councillors who have penned a motion for the upcoming February 24 Council meeting are asking for public feedback around how to improve DA processing by Council staff. 

Asren Pugh (Labor). Photo supplied

The motion, by Crs Duncan Dey (Greens) and Asren Pugh (Labor), notes the pressures that Council’s planning department are under, and follows a staff report and councillor support from the February 3 meeting.

The upcoming motion notes Council determines ‘more Development Applications (DAs) than average in NSW, and that Council staff determine more DAs per staff member than the average council in NSW; that recruitment of appropriate skills and staff has been difficult; that DA processing times and uncertainty over processing times are matters of significant public frustration; incorrect or incomplete paperwork being submitted creates significant workload for assessment staff, and often leads to delays and increased complexity’. 

Crs Dey and Pugh are seeking a staff report by April 2022 ‘on measures that may improve key performance indicators (KPIs), reduce waiting times for DA processing, increase certainty in DA processing times and meet the requirements, as set out in the letter from the Minister’.

This includes, ‘establishing a “fast lane” for qualifying DAs, with a triage approach for determining if DAs meet the criteria to be “fast tracked”; determining guidelines that would qualify DAs to be fast-tracked.

‘These guidelines may include simplicity and levels of correct paperwork submitted; allocating additional funding towards DA processing; adjusting DA assessment procedures towards refusal with an invitation to re-lodge (when DA documentation is deficient)’.

Cr Dey told The Echo, ‘I believe Govcorp’s long term aim is to take planning powers from rural councils’.

Planning powers at risk of govt takeover

‘Cries of poor planning performance will support that aim’.

In August 2017, www.governmentnews.com.au reported that the Liberal-Nationals government stripped powers from Sydney and Wollongong councils in determining DAs worth between $5 million and $30 million in value.

Cr Dey says, ‘We want Council to consider ways of improving planning performance, and are citing three avenues so far that could help. We’d love to hear from locals with experience of Council’s systems: DAs or other applications.

Cr Dey is contactable via [email protected] and phone 0429 845 440.

Cr Pugh’s email is [email protected].

The pair will need majority support from fellow councillors for the motion to be successful.

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  1. “asking for public feedback around how to improve DA processing by Council staff”
    How does ANY business with longer than reasonable customer wait times fix the issue? Hire sufficient numbers of competent staff…. It’s not rocket surgery.


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