Urbis Think Tank
The Political Geography of Development Process in Inner Sydney
A far less interventionist approach from the State Government towards local authorities as a result of the 2011 Liberal-National Coalition election victory means that it is now left to Local Government to deal with increasing numbers of larger and more intricate projects.
Recent strategic research by Urbis has analysed the performance of Councils in Inner Sydney (inside a 10km ring from the CBD) in delivering the new dwellings required to meet State Government Metropolitan Strategy targets. The research shows that ‘place matters’ when it comes to local government attitude towards development proposals.
Urbis analysed high level data on Council development assessment performance between 2007 and 2010 including information on application determination times and success rates, new dwelling approvals as a percentage of Strategic Plan targets and Land and Environment Court determinations.
Key lessons from the research include:
- Councils that delegate decision-making authority to planners have been better able to deliver major projects, freed from much of the political obstructionism that comes from decisions being made at Council meetings;
- Smaller and less-resourced Councils are less able to deliver good determination times and rates of approval, as well as having some of the highest rates of merit appeals to the Land and Environment Court;
- Inner West Councils of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville are well down in some of the key performance indicators, being well below the average for DA determination times, proportion of DAs approved and the potential for Council staff to determine applications under delegated authority; and
- Councils that include major urban renewal precincts, such as City of Sydney, Rockdale, Canada Bay and Ryde generally have good performance indicators that reflect a positive and engaging attitude towards development by their staff and Councillors.
It will be interesting to monitor these numbers as the impact change in political parties and the resultant planning reforms is reflected in the data analysed by the ABS and Department of Planning and Infrastructure for 2011.