The proponent of a $40 million central Albury commercial development has cautiously welcomed intervention by the NSW Government to cut red tape and ensure the construction industry doesn't grind to a halt during the coronavirus pandemic response.
A planning system acceleration program was announced last week which in part will fast-track assessments of state significant developments and support councils and planning panels to expediate local and regionally significant development applications.
The project has the capacity to create 250 construction jobs over a 12-month period.
"The announcement last Friday by the NSW Planning and Public Spaces Minister is welcomed, but more clarity on what the minister means about how these well-intentioned initiatives will be practically implemented is needed," Mr Zauner's planning consultant James Laycock said.
"In my observation what councils need is real support to deal with the rapid slowing down of development and building assessment processing and approvals arising from the majority of their staff working from home."
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The Smollett Street project is the biggest of its kind since the Australian Taxation Offices were built more than a decade ago and will need to be approved by a regional planning panel.
"Albury Council continues to work closely with developers to enable faster processing of projects that will provide a significant boost to jobs and economic activity in Albury," council chief executive Frank Zaknich said.
"In the case of projects that will be decided by the Southern Regional Planning Panel, Council is prioritising the assessment process that will assist the JRPP to make its decisions."
But the council has temporarily reverted back to one meeting per month and planning panels are meeting via teleconference during the COVID-19 crisis.
"Our economic recovery will in many ways be longer and harder than the health one and it's essential we do everything we can now to keep our state moving forward and allow work to continue wherever possible in line with the best medical advice," minister Rob Stokes said.
"We are fast-tracking assessments to keep people in jobs, boost the construction pipeline and keep our economy moving.".
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