The Property Council of Australia has welcomed a decision by all State planning ministers to harmonise laws on planning approvals.
The decision could save industry, governments and the community up to $1.8 billion.
Property Council Executive Director Bryan Moulds said the ministers, who recently met in Canberra, agreed to pursue the benchmarking of State planning controls against nationally consistent "leading practice" principles.
Those principles aim to make Australia’s planning regime more cost effective, transparent and simple and integrate all legislation, policies and assessments applying to a given development site.
Mr Moulds said the move was one of the most significant developments in planning reform in decades and when implemented would reduce the number of approvals required for a development to proceed, slash administration costs and shrink procedural delays.
"While South Australia’s system has been recognised as having an overall good scorecard when compared to many of the other states," Mr Moulds said, "there are certainly a number of areas that need further reform in achieving leading practice."
"In particular," Mr Moulds said, "speedier one stop shop approvals are required for projects that need consensus with a multitude of agencies, which still clog up the system in South Australia; further state and local government investment is needed to accelerate the implementation of electronic lodgement and information."
"Increased communication is also needed to educate policy makers, decision authorities, proponents and the general community about the clear and distinct roles involving policy planning which residing with elected councils, and the development assessment approval process, which should be undertaken within clear and concise procedures," Mr Moulds said.
"The Property Council also welcome the commitments of the planning ministers for further work in the development of consistent definitions and terminology’s in each state. Ministers have also committed to the creation of a uniform information system that will ultimately allow people to quickly and easily view all the rules and constraints relating to a parcel of land anywhere in Australia," Mr Moulds said.
"The end result of a harmonised planning system is better quality buildings and urban environments, greater community amenity, more value in people’s pockets and world-class urban regions," Mr Moulds said.
Bryan Moulds, 8231 2807 or 0411 664 416