27/06/2006 - 22:00

Industry warms to new land role

27/06/2006 - 22:00

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The state government’s decision to create a new position to coordinate and fast-track the land-release process has been greeted with cautious enthusiasm by an industry frustrated by delays.

Industry warms to new land role

The state government’s decision to create a new position to coordinate and fast-track the land-release process has been greeted with cautious enthusiasm by an industry frustrated by delays.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan has assigned senior planning consultant, Marion Thompson, the responsibility of identifying high-growth areas and key subdivisions to free up lots while expediting major subdivision applications.

Housing Industry Association executive director John Dastlik told WA Business News that while the quantity of available land remained a concern, it was hoped the appointment would provide some way forward for industry.

He said builders needed access to sites quickly because the preparation of a site, including survey, plan, contracts and development application took an average of five months to complete.

“The delays have been exacerbated in the last five years with 21,000 new housing commencements per annum,” Mr Dastlik said.

Urban Development Institute of Australia executive director Marion Fulker said the appointment of a troubleshooter was good news for the land bottleneck but she had expected the issue of land shortages to occupy a higher priority within cabinet.

“It’s not quite the model I hoped it would be; I expected more from cabinet because the issue is of the highest priority,” she said.

Ms Fulker hoped the government would keep an annual focus on the issue of land supply and summit attendees would be kept informed of the government’s intentions.

During her initial six-month appointment, Ms Thompson will also review planning conditions and consult with industry and planning agencies.

Her appointment follows a recent industry land summit attended by developers, builders, contractors, planning agencies and other government land service providers.

Ms MacTiernan said Ms Thompson’s first task would be to work with planning authorities and developers to facilitate the delivery of some of more than 40,000 lots under conditional approval, into the market.

“Even at current record demand levels, there are 18 years of land supply zoned residential. We need to identify how more of this land can be brought onto the market more quickly,” she said in statement.

Ms MacTiernan said Ms Thompson had 25 years’ experience as an urban planner in Australia, Europe, and the Middle East and was a proven problem solver.

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