The Property Council of Australia today expressed serious concern at reports that the Gold Coast City Council was planning to introduce ‘community panels’ that may further delay development proposals.
Executive Director of the Queensland Division of the Property Council of Australia said that the panels had the potential to further slow down the development assessment process.
“The assessment and approval of proposed developments in the Gold Coast already takes an inordinate amount of time – for large project a 2 or 3 year timeframe is not uncommon”, Mr Greenwood said.
“For the Council to now suggest that there now needs to be another additional process that may add even further delays, and therefore costs, to the development assessment is very concerning.
“The Property Council is strongly supportive of genuinely independent assessment panels that make assessment decisions in lieu of a Local Government – however, this is not what is being proposed by the Gold Coast City Council.
“The Gold Coast public has the right to ask whether the panels will genuinely produce better development outcomes.
“The Council already employs a large number of costly however very highly skilled development assessment staff and you have to question why these panels are needed.
“If the Council believes that the development assessment staff are not doing a good job, then they need to be very clear about the issue and say so.
“The Property Council is concerned that advisory panels of a voluntary nature tend to attract people with time on their hands, that are ‘anti-development’, and that only produce highly biased advice.
“To be a genuinely useful advisory process, the panel must be truly representative of all the community’s interest – particularly business and the property industry.
“It must be remembered that the Gold Coast property industry is critical to the future of the Gold Coast, employing over 22,000 people (12% of people employed on the Gold Coast).
“At a time when the property industry is doing it tough and having to lay off people, the Council should be introducing measures to stimulate the industry – not make it harder.
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