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Calls for housing completions not approvals to be focus of commitments

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The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) NSW has welcomed the New South Wales state Premier Mike Baird’s commitment to making infrastructure delivery and housing approvals top government priorities.

UDIA NSW chief executive Stephen Albin says housing approvals need to be fast-tracked to keep up with demand, and a commitment to determine most approvals within 40 days is a good start.

“The industry is highly supportive of any initiatives that help increase residential development application turnaround periods,” he says, but add that the Premier’s priority to deliver 50,000 development approvals per year should be based on housing completions instead.

“Housing approvals don’t necessarily translate into completions as land can sit dormant until the landowner decides to develop,” he says.

“What we’d really like to see is a strong commitment to seeing homes built on the ground through boosting completions.”

Albin says that to seriously address housing delivery issues in NSW, the government also needs to look at combining these commitments with action on already announced policy.

 “The state government needs to continue to work towards simplifying the planning system to remove issues such as duplications in approvals processes.

 “It also needs to extend its housing diversity package to outside of growth areas to ensure people at all stages of their lives, with all levels of income, can buy the homes they want.

“The Housing Acceleration Fund was extended in the budget but we have yet to see where that money will be spent.

“By making the allocation of that infrastructure funding a priority, the government will boost investment confidence, and ultimately turn the supply tap on sooner in some areas,” he concludes.