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    A simplified planning system will increase NSW apartment approvals

    Nathan Johnson

    The Urban Taskforce has called for a simplified planning system for apartment buildings in NSW in light of the recent fall in higher density apartment approvals for the state.

    CEO of The Urban Taskforce, an organisation made up of property developers and equity financiers, Chris Johnson referred to the recent Building Approvals, Australia, September 2014 statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) when making this claim.

    He calls the results from the release, which shows a fall in apartment approvals from 2,654 on a trend basis in November 2013 to 1,983 in September 2014, a concern and “a worry”.

    The ABS figures show that dwelling units approved in New South Wales fell 1.0% in September and have fallen for nine months. This is compared with private houses which rose 0.9% in September and has risen for five months.

    Johnson points out that changes to the regarded SEPP65 guidelines need reviewing.

    “Clearly a simplified planning system will help with the approvals of more apartments and some of the proposed changes to the Apartment Design State Environmental Planning Policy 65 will need to be reviewed,” he said.

    This isn’t the first time Johnson has made a call for more tall buildings in NSW and more specifically the City of Sydney, announcing in May that Sydney needs to double the height of its skyscrapers by 2050.

    From the Johnson and the Urban Taskforce:

    “Clearly approvals for apartments will go up and down but there seems to be a consistent slow down over the last 10 months.”

    “The apartment market is vital for housing supply in NSW with recent approvals running at around 70% of all homes. Our concern is that the easy sites have now gone and that the more difficult sites will find approvals harder to get. It is important that support for growth at state and local government continues.”

    “Sydney, in particular, must keep the support for new housing as we require 33,200 new homes each year and only completed 22,750 last financial year. While recent improvements in approvals have been positive this latest downturn in apartments is a worry.”

    “The detached house sector is continuing in a positive trend in NSW and has risen substantially in the last two years and this market is less influenced by the volatile investor market.”

    “Clearly a simplified planning system will help with the approvals of more apartments and some of the proposed changes to the Apartment Design State Environmental Planning Policy 65 will need to be reviewed.” 

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