Sharing the planning load and helping regional councils speed up the delivery of new housing are at the heart of a new program unveiled today.

NSW Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes Anthony Roberts today announced $1 million for the establishment of a program of targeted assistance to regional councils, at the Local Government NSW Conference.

“We know regional NSW needs more homes, that’s why I’m announcing a Regional Housing Flying Squad to help regional councils’ clear development applications faster,” says Roberts.

“A panel of planning consultants, funded by the NSW Government and helped by the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), will be available to help manage development applications for new homes.”

“We know attracting qualified planners can be a problem, particularly for smaller regional councils,” he says.

“That’s why, in addition to the flying squad, the Department will open up space in its offices for councils to use as remote workplaces for their planners.”

“Covid has proven the importance of flexibility in the workplace. The CoPlan Spaces initiative builds on that, giving people access to convenient office space along with opportunities to learn and network with other council and DPE planners.”

Collectively, there are more than 16,000 active DAs in regional NSW, worth more than $14 billion to the economy. 

Regional councils will be able to nominate DAs that deliver regional housing, through a formal Expression of Interest process, which will be assessed by an evaluation panel for the flying squads to action.