Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

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Local Councils' Role in Economic Activity

Thursday 5 April 2012

Whilst the main thrust of Australian economic activity is said to be in the hands of the Federal Government, we should not overlook the significant role that Local Council Government's can have. As the Federal Government wrestles with falling taxation revenues and an apparent inability to get the message across about distributing the income of the mining boom, and State Governments balk at infrastructure requirements and spending on social service requirements, it can seem that Local Governments have minimal to offer. But I beg to differ

There's much that Local Governments can do in one particular area, and that is not in the sphere of increasing ticket inspectors to extract more parking fine revenue.  The part to play hinges on speed of housing approvals.  Simply put it is hard to justify six weeks of delays or anecdotally as happens in many parts of New South Wales, delays of as much as nine months for straight forward building permits.

These delays increase the risks of 'non starting' or deferred projects and that is bad news and just not smart regulation.  I'd like to see a much more rapid approval (or disapproval) process.  But delays in processing an application is unacceptable and frankly, unjustifiable.  Approve or reject, but do it quickly.  If Councils want to ensure their part in the economic process through building approval, the minor change might simply be the sunset clause with regard to start and finish dates.  By asking building works to be commenced sooner, and finished more quickly (or the developer risking non issuance of a permit for residency), Local Governments can play a key role in economic activity.


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