Here at WCG, whilst its very much business as usual, we have been taking a leadership role in advocating for Government led action to support the property and development industry and underpin post-COVID economic recovery.
In addition to our key roles on numerous industry association committees, we have been working directly with our colleagues in local government to encourage new initiatives. We recently wrote to the Council of Mayors (SEQ) presenting a range of ideas for consideration and discussion at their Board meeting.
This focused primarily on strategies to keep existing development projects moving and stimulate and support new project proposals. A summary of these ideas and strategies is presented below.
Facilitate Project Completion and Close Out
- Support committed projects through allocation of additional resources to plan sealing processes to ensure contractual deadlines are met and sales contracts are settled.
- Simplify and fast track bonding / securities and streamlining delegations and approval processes.
Stimulate Project Construction
- Provide waivers or rebates for infrastructure charges where project construction is commenced within a designated time period.
- Delay the timing for payment of infrastructure charges (for example, at settlements or to a nominated sunset date).
- Fast track sub-staging of current development approvals to enable delivery of smaller project components, manage cashflow, and postpone significant project costs.
- Prioritise change applications for approved development projects under construction
Reposition and Protect Approved Projects so they are Shovel Ready
- Reduce or waive fees for change to approvals and extension applications.
- Support and fast track extension applications to default currency periods.
- Support and fast track change applications to reposition a project and underpin viability.
- Widen the capacity to accommodate changes through ‘generally in accordance’ processes.
Expedite Applications Under Assessment
- Re-allocate Council resources to projects which have significant catalyst and employment generating benefit.
- Reposition the development assessment mindset to be focused to economic development and employment facilitation objectives.
- Use Temporary Local Planning Instruments as a legislative tool to respond to this ‘economic emergency’.
Encourage New Development Projects
- Introduce a front-loaded proposal assessment and ‘de-risk’ process, which provides Council ‘in-principle’ support prior to formal DA lodgement.
- Adopt a moratorium on any recent amendments to planning schemes which are counter-productive to facilitating good economic development outcomes.
Get Housing Supply ‘Recovery Ready’
- Introduce new and innovative planning scheme amendments which responds to the emergent increase in housing stress, encourages delivery of better affordable housing outcomes and provides resilience moving forward.
Whilst local government is responding positively there is much more to be done in this space. To this end, we welcome the support of our clients and industry colleagues in both advocating for these strategies, and in contacting us with any additional recommendations.
To view the letter sent to the Council of Mayors, please click here.