NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian, Planning and Public Spaces minister Rob Stokes and treasurer Dominic Perrottet have announced the first 24 projects to undergo a fast-tracked assessment process as part of the NSW Government’s new Planning System Acceleration Program.

According to the government, some 24 projects identified in the first tranche of fast-tracked assessments have the potential to:

  • Create almost 9,500 new jobs during construction and once complete;
  • Inject $7.54 billion into the State’s economy;
  • Deliver more than 325,000 square metres of new public open space, parks and environmental conservation lands; and
  • Allow more than 4,400 new homes to be built, including more than 1,000 social and affordable homes.

These projects include thousands of new homes, new industrial complexes and six schools are among the first wave of projects that will have their assessments fast-tracked to boost the State’s economy and create opportunities for thousands of new jobs in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“By fast-tracking assessments, we will keep people in jobs and keep the construction industry moving as we ride out the COVID-19 pandemic and set our sights on economic recovery,” says Berejiklian.

“This will mean shovel-ready projects can get underway and the construction pipeline can continue to grow,” says Stokes.

“If approved, these projects will be a win-win for NSW: delivering jobs for today, and local community and business benefits tomorrow.”

“It’s important to note that this is not a greenlighting exercise, the same stringent checks, balances and community consultation that ensures transparency, public benefit and merit-based assessment of projects remain.”

The criteria to identify and progress projects through a fast-tracked assessment process has also been released.

To be considered for a fast-tracked assessment, the development application (DA) or rezoning must already be in the system, deliver a public benefit, demonstrate an ability to create jobs during construction and once complete, be able to commence construction within six months (for a State Significant Development application or State Significant Infrastructure application) or allow a DA to be lodged within six months (for a rezoning).

The criteria has been formulated by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment in consultation with government agencies and key industry groups. A probity advisor will continue to oversee and report on the fast-tracked process to ensure it is transparent and robust.

Other elements of the new program include a new one-stop shop for industry, clearing the backlog of cases stuck in the Land & Environment Court and investing $70 million to co-fund vital new community infrastructure in North West Sydney.

Image: The $44m Alex Avenue Public School at Schofields / https://richardcrookes.com.au/