Focus on planning reform

I'm writing to you from Hobart, where there is a noticeable energy in the air.

In Tasmania, the visitor economy is a key growth driver. I am here to meet with members and to see first-hand the terrific progress that is being made on three major projects across the city.

The University of Tasmania developments, the exciting Mac01 hotel development, the 9ha Macquarie Point renewal project and the new Parliament Square government offices are all signs of a city that is growing and has confidence in the future.

It hasn’t always been that way in Tasmania – but the state has been working on the economic fundamentals and demonstrating that liveable cities and growing cities are completely compatible goals.

Tasmania is also one jurisdiction where there has recently been substantial planning reform – with the Property Council's full support – sending a positive signal to investors.

It can sometimes be hard to get people excited about planning reform. The public naturally think about planning in terms of their own renovations or their neighbourhood, but planning is vital to delivering better cities, a cleaner environment and a stronger economy.

Poor planning can also frustrate these outcomes. A new Property Council report shows that planning delays in Queensland are adding an extra $36,800 to the cost of a new home. That’s a big impost for home buyers and an unnecessary drag on the economy.

Planning is also about creating communities and long-term prosperity, something our industry invests in heavily.

Getting these concepts on the political agenda is important, and it's why we’re pleased that the new Northern Territory Labor Government has established a Ministry for a “Vibrant Darwin CBD”. It might be a quirky title for a minister, but if it brings a focus to revitalising the CBD, it will be good news for the Territory as well as our members.

Across Australia we are working to create the right conditions for every part of our country to grow.