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Shepherd review outcome disappointing: developers
Released 15 November 2010

The NSW Government’s decision to stop fast-track projects is disappointing, according to the Urban Taskforce.  

The government has released the findings of Dr Neil Shepherd’s review into the Nation Building and Jobs Plan.
 
The review recommended that the NSW Nation Building and Jobs Plan (State Infrastructure Delivery) Act 2009 be allowed to expire as the federal economic stimulus program is wound-down. It said that no new categories of projects should be added. The government has accepted all recommendations.

The Urban Taskforce’s Chief Executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the work of the NSW Nation Building and Jobs Plan Taskforce was refreshing because it has broken away from the traditional rigid thinking of many local councils.

“These public servants took a commonsense approach to housing approvals,” Gadiel said.

“It’s a shame their more efficient approvals system was limited to just public housing.

“It’s particularly disappointing that there is now no prospect of the system being extended to private sector projects.”
Gadiel said that government needs to give both public and private developments an equally efficient approval process.

“Both public and private projects have the ability to deliver social and economic benefits,” he said.

“It’s nonsense to suggest that publicly funded projects always carry greater social benefits than privately funded projects.

“Almost everyone shops and works in premises developed by the private sector.

“Most middle and low income people live in housing provided by private sector developers - not public housing authorities.

“When private developers are unable to develop new housing, it’s ordinary homebuyers and renters who suffer most.”

Mr Gadiel said that NSW property development has been in serious decline since 2002.

“Until 2007, NSW was the nation’s number one state for building activity – this shouldn’t have been surprising given that it’s Australia’s largest state,” he said.

“However, in 2007, Victoria stole NSW’s title."