Housing approvals across the state continue to soar with over 70,000 home approvals granted in 2017, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said this was the third consecutive calendar year that NSW recorded more than 70,000 building approvals.
“The rate of building approvals and completions in NSW is continuing to power the NSW economy and provide vital employment opportunities across the building and construction industry,” Mr Roberts said. Mr Roberts said almost twice as many homes were approved December 2017 compared to 2010, when, under Labor, only 36,828 homes were approved. “NSW is the number one state in the nation for housing approvals and continues to far exceed the Premier’s Priority Housing Target of 50,000 approvals per year which improves housing supply and helps to support housing affordability.
“The NSW Government is getting on with the job of delivering the homes for tomorrow to cater for our state’s growing population.”
The latest figures released by the Department of Planning and Environment show that Western Sydney remains the epicenter of the state’s housing construction with 27,540 new homes approved in the year to November 2017.
“Along with our record transport infrastructure investment, these strong levels of housing approvals are vital to improving affordability and ensuring NSW remains number one.
“And we are also ensuring that new housing is matched by more schools, hospitals, and green space”.
Acting Treasurer, Victor Dominello said: “One of our Government’s priorities is to get more homes built and make it easier for first home buyers to enter the market and own their own home.
“Thousands of people have taken advantage of the stamp duty exemptions and reductions to buy their first home, in the first quarter since the reforms came into effect”.
The housing affordability package announced as part of the June Budget removes stamp duty for first home buyers for both new and existing homes for properties up to $650,000 and reduces duty for first homes between $650,000 and $800,000.
“It is essential we prepare for the future by ensuring our children and grandchildren will have the opportunity to own their own home,” Mr Dominello said.
The NSW Government has proposed tough new Code of Conduct requirements for local NSW councils.
Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton said the updated Model Code of Conduct for Councils in NSW – which would apply to 1,500 councillors and almost 50,000 council staff across NSW – was now on public exhibition for comment.
“While most councillors do the right thing for a small minority it is all about them instead of what is in the community’s best interests. We are determined to weed out councillors misusing their public office,” Ms Upton said.
“Breaches of the new Code of Conduct by councillors can result in suspension and even disqualification from office and these new proposed requirements will put an even greater onus on councillors to behave appropriately or face the consequences if they don’t serve their ratepayers.”
The new Model Code of Conduct proposes a range of new rules for all councillors and staff, including:
• Banning accepting gifts or benefits greater than $50 and introducing mandatory reporting of all gifts or benefits regardless of value;
• Disclosing records of meetings and other communications with applicants and objectors to planning applications;
• Banning access to council information when councillors have a pecuniary or a significant non-pecuniary conflict of interest;
• Requiring the declaration of new interests by councillors and staff more regularly in official returns of interest;
• Declaring being a property developer or a close associate of a property developer more regularly in official returns of interest;
• Publishing information in councillor and general manager official returns of interest on council’s website;
• Tough new standards against bullying, discrimination and harassment, work health and safety, on behaviour at meetings and use of social media;
• Clarifying that councillors must not use council information for personal purposes or undertake personal dealings with council during work time.
The draft Model Code of Conduct is on public exhibition for six weeks.
All merged councils across NSW will remain in place as communities continue to enjoy the benefits of savings and improvements to services, Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton announced today.
“Since becoming Premier, the Deputy Premier and I have been travelling across NSW, listening to the views and considering the evidence,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“In addition to maintaining all existing mergers, we will push ahead with those councils in Sydney that are before the courts.
“Local government reform is particularly important in Sydney if we are to deliver on our commitments to increase housing supply, improve planning and deliver local infrastructure and amenity to communities. These are strong justifications for proceeding with mergers.
“Before the mergers last year, Sydney had 41 councils compared to 1 in Brisbane.
“We have also listened to concerns about local character in Sydney and will continue to ensure individual wards of merged councils will have a say in strategic planning processes so that local residents get an even stronger say in the planning of their neighbourhoods.”
Ms Berejiklian and Mr Barilaro also announced that the NSW Government would not be proceeding with regional councils that have yet to be merged.
“Whilst there have been a number of significant improvements in merged regional councils, we accept that a one size fits all model does not always apply outside Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The financial benefits over the next 20 years will be 6 times greater in the Sydney councils than those in regional areas.”
Mr Barilaro said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to listening, and delivering, for the communities across regional NSW.
“Local councils in the bush have done their fair share to contribute to stronger local government in NSW, and today we draw a line under local government amalgamations in the regions,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This decision has been made to ensure that we put an end to the confusion and uncertainty for those councils locked in drawn-out legal battles. I am looking forward to the local government elections in September to restore local decision-making to our regions.”
Ms Upton said three rounds of mergers in regional NSW over recent decades had seen significant consolidation of councils, while metropolitan council numbers had remained largely unchanged since the 1940s, with some boundaries unchanged for more than 100 years.
“The reform process was particularly designed to weed out the duplication, mismanagement and waste of Sydney’s councils, an issue far less prevalent in regional NSW,” Ms Upton said.
“With more than 1.74 million people set to make Sydney home over the next 20 years, metropolitan councils need to keep up with housing and local infrastructure demands.
“The five remaining metropolitan mergers are expected to generate $530 million in benefits over 20 years. Communities deserve to see these benefits.”
The Premier said new councils created last year will continue to serve their communities.
“New councils across NSW have been working hard to deliver better services for their communities,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Residents and ratepayers would be worse off if this was undone.”
Regional NSW and outer Sydney residents and businesses will be better connected with work now underway to eliminate up to 795 mobile black spots across the State.
Minister for Regional Development John Barilaro said the NSW Government has worked closely with the Federal Government and mobile phone carriers to maximise the funding and the subsequent benefits of the program.
The Mobile Blackspot Program fulfils the NSW Government’s election commitment to invest $24 million to fix some of the worst mobile phone black spots across the State,” Mr Barilaro said.
“We will deliver 144 new or upgraded mobile base stations will be rolled out in NSW over the next three years.
“The new or upgraded towers contribute to more than 14,000 square kilometres of new coverage in NSW, an area larger than the Sydney metropolitan area.”
Mr Barilaro said the initiative is a great example of the NSW and Commonwealth Governments working together with the industry to drive a better future for the people of NSW.
“Whether it’s new highways, hospitals, education facilities and now mobile phone towers, we are providing the infrastructure that regional NSW needs to grow and prosper,” Mr Barilaro said.
The NSW Government has contributed over $24 million to improving mobile coverage in regional areas and outer Sydney as part of the $92 million total investment.
NSW has retained the number one position in the nation in CommSec’s State of the States report.
Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian has welcomed the results of today’s report, which compares the states and territories by analysing key economic indicators.
NSW is first when it comes to retail trade, population growth, housing finance, housing starts, business investment and employment.
“It is great news that not only is NSW the number one economy in the nation, it is well out in front when compared to the other states and territories,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“The latest report found NSW ‘edging’ a little further ahead of Victoria.”
“The NSW Government has worked hard to make our economy strong, grow jobs, increase business investment and grow confidence.”
CommSec also noted that NSW has a “solid grip” on the top ranking of economic performance.
“The future looks bright for NSW but there is much to do. We will continue to work hard to deliver the infrastructure and services our state needs as well as create jobs and grow the economy,” Ms Berejiklian said.
MEDIA: Katie Kimberley | 0428 345 844
Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello has welcomed the recommendations of an independent report, which is for the first time, putting all of the state’s 769 licences under the microscope, to prevent superfluous red tape.
The NSW Government announced that it will adopt all of the recommendations of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) Report, Reforming Licensing in NSW, which is now publically available.
The IPART report reviewed state government licences - including registrations, permits, approvals, accreditations and renewals - that account for $2.8 billion of the government’s annual revenue.
“Overly onerous licensing restrictions result in unnecessary regulatory costs that may deter businesses from investing in NSW, and that is why the government commissioned IPART to conduct a root and branch review of all licence categories across the state to ensure they are fit for purpose and responsive to trends in technology and digital government,” Mr Dominello said.
“As part of the report’s findings, the government will review and reform the top 40 licences, based on volume issued and revenue raised, including registration of heavy vehicles, recreational fishing fees and home building licences. Those that cannot demonstrate a strong public policy rationale will be removed”.
Government agencies have also committed to applying new guidelines and frameworks recommended by IPART when developing or reviewing regulation and licences, to ensure they are efficient and remove burdensome red tape for business.
Where there is no statutory requirement to review licensing regulation, licences will be reviewed every 10 years.