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Investment Attraction Newsletter - January 2012

City working with industry to streamline development

Gold Coast City Council is working with development professionals in a bid to speed up the application process and get more projects off the ground.

Council’s City Planning Committee Chair, Councillor Ted Shepherd, said State Government monitoring had shown that Gold Coast City was among the leading councils with regard to the speed and efficiency of application processing.

“There is no doubt Council’s application processing compares well with other local governments, but a review of our current processes has highlighted some areas which can be fine-tuned,” said Cr Shepherd.

He said the Mayor and Councillors met recently with delegates of Sustainable Development Gold Coast (SDGCI) and agreed to examine areas of the application process, including pre-lodgement meetings, information requests, approval conditions and Council reports.

“This is nothing new, Council’s processes are under constant review and much has been done in recent years, especially through increased dialogue with industry, to improve our systems.

“As well as introducing RiskSmart for five-day turnaround of low-risk applications and initiating regular information sessions which are well attended by industry members, we have been open to discussions like those held recently with SDGCI.

“Out of these discussions, we have identified some areas where the system might be refined.”

Cr Shepherd also advised that full Council had endorsed:
• a review of timing requirements for meeting conditions of development
• regular audits of approval conditions and the pre-lodgement process (meetings with applicants to discuss the proposal before it is formally lodged)
• a dedicated position to assist in co-ordinating information requests, and
• provision of a quarterly report of Council applications and decisions

“However industry does need to understand the system which operates today is largely a consequence of State legislation.

“Councils can do only so much in their efforts to reduce processing times. The bar has been raised substantially in Queensland in the past two decades, particularly with regard to the environmental and social impacts of development. Regulations for development,, as well as raised community expectations, are now similar across the State.

“But Council can, and is, looking at how we apply these requirements to keep the process as simple as possible for applicants. Where we can identify and implement savings - we will.”

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