The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW have highlighted the improved performance of councils in assessing difficult and disputed development applications on local planning issues across the State.


President of the Local Government Association of NSW, Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM, said the 2010/11 Local Development Monitoring Report reveals DA processing times have significantly improved across Local Government in NSW for complicated DAs.


"Only a handful of councils took 100 days or more to determine a difficult application, which is a 20 percent decrease on the previous year's figures," said Cr Rhoades.


"In fact, this is an established trend. In the past five years the number of councils taking an extended amount of time to determine a DA has dropped by nearly 70 per cent."

"In addition, councils have put in place better ways of resolving conflicts over difficult DAs. More and more applicants are making the choice to go through a constructive review process, rather than proceed to an expensive court action."


"Importantly, very few DAs (3%) are being delayed by being referred to a full council meeting, with the vast majority (85%) being approved by council staff in a timely manner."


President of the Shires Association of NSW, Cr Ray Donald, said only a minimal number of applications (less than 0.5%) were referred to Joint Regional Planning Panels (JRPPs) for determination, though we recognise that these are more complex development applications.


"I'm very pleased to see that many of the best performing councils regarding DA processing times were regional and rural councils," he said.


"Obviously, development applications in the Sydney metropolitan area are significantly different to those in rural and regional NSW, and this must be taken into account," he said.


"NSW councils are consistently working at improving internal business practices, addressing staff shortages and listening to resident feedback to develop transparent, fair and efficient assessment processes for all parties."


"The LGSA and its members look forward to working closely and in partnership with the State Government to deliver better planning outcomes for local communities."


The 2010/11 Local Development Monitor Report is at