NOT everyone gets excited about the topic of development application (DA) processing, but it is important to anyone who has an application under review for a residence or commercial development.
So it is exciting that in a new report from NSW Planning and Infrastructure, Newcastle ranks in the top 10 per cent of NSW councils for the largest number of DAs processed per officer for 2012-13.
We processed 103 DAs per officer compared to the NSW average of 56.
Further, processing times for DAs in Newcastle were reduced by seven days over the past year.
The council still has a way to go in improving this process, but the city is heading in the right direction, to the credit of our staff, which processes more than 1300 DAs every year.
With half a billion dollars in new investment set to come into Newcastle in the near future, the council is getting the balance right between regulatory and economic imperatives.
It is critical that DAs are processed quickly and efficiently to support continued investment.
A new council project will review planning controls for single-unit dwellings and heritage structures to reduce the regulatory burden on residential housing, while maintaining necessary safeguards.
The Local Development Performance Monitoring Report, released on March 9, can be accessed via planning.nsw.gov.au/performance-monitoring.