The Productivity Commission is undertaking a study into planning and zoning to benchmark the impact of different systems across jurisdictions, and their effect on red tape, competition and the functioning of cities.
In developing our submission to the study, we have consulted with a number of BCA member organisations about their experiences with planning and zoning systems across Australia.
The BCA’s contribution is important given the critical need for efficient and effective planning and zoning systems to boost housing affordability, as well as the liveability and productivity of our cities. All of these quality-of-life issues depend on urban amenity, well-planned infrastructure and environmental sustainability.
Our main points are that:
- Australia’s planning, zoning and development assessment systems should support productivity and economic growth and be better aligned with national policies on population and the provision of infrastructure of national significance.
- Faster planning processes that involve a greater role for state and federal governments are welcome, but they need to have appropriate resources and clear governance structures to ensure better outcomes for our cities and regions.
- The review should highlight ways to reduce costs arising from system inefficiencies and delays such as holding costs, standby costs and costs arising from uncertainty. In some jurisdictions, significant costs are also incurred when business has to deal with multiple government agencies rather than through a coordinating agency.
In the area of environmental assessment and approvals, the BCA is concerned that COAG’s recently streamlined frameworks are not being utilised.