Council to seek greater integrity in assessment process
Central Coast Council will seek the support at the Local Government Conference for greater integrity in planning and building assessment and certification.
The council supported a move from mayor Cr Jane Smith which would see councils appoint consultants to assess proposals and would return building certification to councils.
Cr Smith said that, at present, the applicant or developer chooses their own consultants and submits the reports in their development application.
She wanted the Local Government Conference to call on the NSW Government to introduce a system that guaranteed independence and integrity in consultant reporting in the development process.
She wanted a list to be established of appropriately qualified independent consultants to procure the reports needed in development assessment, including environmental impact statements, transport plans, arborist reports and waste management plans.
Applicants would pay into an independent consultancy fund to procure services.
Councils would allocate work to consultants from the approved list to prepare reports and to provide them directly to council.
An audit process would ensure the quality, independence and transparency of the process.
Cr Smith said she also wanted the Local Government Conference to call on the State Government to return the function of building certification to council on a fee for service basis
She said: "The increasing use of private certifiers in the approval of construction and complying development certificates has been identified as one potential reason for the fall in building standards and is something that needs to be addressed by the State Government.
"Local councils are still able to provide certification services but are finding it difficult to compete with private certifiers who offer cheaper rates.
Cr Smith said: "Every council wants to create a community which is both safe and attractive for residents and is also welcoming to visitors.
"We want our development and building approval processes to continue to be robust, resulting in high-quality yet affordable housing.
"We also want to ensure that councils have a seat at the table when the State Government is planning policies and strategies which have a long-term impact on local communities."
Central Coast Council agenda 1.4, 12 Aug 2019
Media release, 14 Aug 2019
Jane Smith, Central Coast Council