27 June 2023

The NSW Government today took another firm step towards a stronger, more efficient and more streamlined NSW planning system focused on the delivery of more housing, jobs, and infrastructure.

Almost 350 staff from the Greater Cities Commission (GCC) and Western Parklands City Authority (WPCA) will be redeployed into the Department of Planning and Environment.


The transfer will reduce the overlap and duplication between agencies and redirect valuable but limited resources to bolster planning delivery against the Government’s priorities.


The move puts the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) in a much better position to focus on the job of overhauling the planning process and cutting red tape.


The previous Government left us with a planning system that included too many agencies reporting to too many ministers. It was a system that, put simply, wasn’t delivering enough housing for people in NSW.


NSW will require approximately 900,000 additional dwellings by 2041. Yet we have a projected housing construction shortfall of 134,000 dwellings over the five years of the National Housing Accord.


Planning processing times had blown out from 69 days on average in July 2021 to 116 days in March 2023.


The NSW Productivity Commission has noted NSW builds fewer homes compared to other states, and this is a direct cause for why housing in NSW costs more than it does anywhere else in Australia.


We need more supply in places people want to live and work, located near to the services people need if we have any chance of meeting our State’s, and particularly Sydney’s, housing demands. 


The GCC Commissioners will continue to assist with metropolitan planning for the Six Cities Region and provision of advice to the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.


DPE Acting Secretary Kiersten Fishburn will now work with the Commissioners and they will finalise draft housing targets and the six City Plans.


This work will embed the new Government’s rebalancing of population and housing growth for all 43 local councils and deliver on our commitments required under the National Housing Accord.


The WPCA Board will continue to set the direction for the building of Bradfield City and for economic development and investment attraction to the Western Parklands City.


Both GCC and WPCA Chief Executive Officers will now report to the DPE Secretary.


The NSW Government has an ambitious agenda to reform planning and boost housing supply. We have already announced the following changes:


  • Reforming infrastructure contributions so that roads, schools, health services and open spaces are delivered in a more timely manner to areas of housing growth to address– one of the most frequent criticisms I hear about housing growth
  • Providing additional support for the development and assessment of social and affordable housing
  • Creating changes for market development to increase the amount of housing delivered on private land as well as public land.
  • Auditing surplus government land that could be used for housing
  • Expanding the role of Landcom
  • Improving building quality by establishing the NSW Building Commission
  • Making renting fairer while providing surety to property owners


This is the start of focusing government and its agencies on project delivery – we want to get projects moving.


More information can be found on the Department of Planning and Environment's website.


Premier Chris Minns said:

“We made a firm commitment prior to the election to streamline planning accountabilities and within 100 days of taking office we’re making a clear and positive step in that direction.


“There’s no point having housing targets if you can’t deliver the housing.  This is about ensuring we have the right team in place to deliver the housing and infrastructure we so critically need in this state.


“We’ve been upfront about the challenges we face.  And overall this will mean more affordable housing, and more supply overall.


Paul Scully, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces:

“There were too many agencies operating in the NSW planning system with similar responsibilities, meaning that accountability for delivery was blurred and confusing.


“The system created resourcing gaps in critical areas, while duplicating effort in others, and with the housing challenges we face, it wasn’t fit for purpose.”


“We need to pool all our resources to deliver on the new government’s priorities including housing and jobs, and the infrastructure to support them.