PLANNING REFORM QUICK WINS COULD DELIVER $5.7 BILLION POST COVID-19 STIMULUS

The Australian economy could benefit from a $5.7 billion per annum boost if each state and territory implements just one of the ‘quick win’ planning reforms identified in the Planning to Prosper report commissioned by the Property Council of Australia.

The report, drawing upon research by independent property consultancy Urbis, demonstrates how high priority, high impact changes can boost productivity and aid post COVID-19 recovery with 39,200 additional jobs.

The Planning to Prosper report identifies five planning reform priorities for each state and territory and the additional jobs and economic activity each would generate. The report points to the planning system’s key role in government economic recovery policies.

The Property Council’s Residential Development Council president, Andrew Whitson said that building homes and communities for Australians supports more jobs and investment than any other widespread activity in our economy.

“Now more than ever, streamlining planning processes will increase efficiency and help generate much-needed economic activity, accelerating the contribution of the private sector to our recovery, at no cost to government,” Mr Whitson said.

While progress has been made in recent years, and governments are ‘fast tracking’ projects to stimulate the economic recovery from COVID-19, planning systems across all states and territories continue to be plagued by inefficiencies and uncertainty.

Urbis Regional Director, Princess Ventura emphasised that now is the time to realise the gains from improving housing supply and support the Australian economy by addressing embedded inefficiencies in state and territory planning regimes.

“The Planning to Prosper report takes the legwork out of identifying low hanging fruits on where to start when it comes to turning state and territory planning regimes into viable tools for increased housing supply, enhanced liveability and economic performance nationally,” Ms Ventura said.

Planning to Prosper has evaluated each planning regime on its merits and planners and stakeholders have identified high priority, high impact changes or ‘quick wins’ that could be delivered within the next 12 months in each state or territory.

The report identified three clear themes across different jurisdictions which could speed up approvals and deliver more housing: more transparent rezoning processes; greater accountability of agency referrals; and. simplifying assessment processes for simple proposals.

Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the impact of COVID-19 provided a compelling argument for action on planning reform.

“High impact reforms of the type proposed in Planning to Prosper can be deployed quickly and at very low cost to the public purse to support economic stimulus.

“Each state and territory needs to act on just one ‘quick win’ reform in their jurisdiction to start creating significant new jobs and add value for their economy.

“As a country we need to find more effective ways to tackle these issues and we encourage National Cabinet to consider National Competition Policy style incentives to help make it happen.”

The recommendations in Planning to Prosper are based on stakeholder workshops held during 2019 in each state and territory, including industry experts, large and small development firms, local and state government officials, think tanks and consulting firms.

The recommendations for reform are assessed against benefits such as quantity, timeliness, affordability, liveability and big economic impacts.

A copy of Planning to Prosper including detailed analysis by state and territory is available for download here .

Media contacts:

Property Council - Matt Francis 0467 777 220 mfrancis@propertycouncil.com.au
URBIS - Alexis Mann 0408 190 286 amann@urbis.com.au