The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) facilitated a three-year priority paid resourcing pilot project between Wyndham City Council and ten developers concerning the planning, landscaping and engineering assessment and approvals services provided by Wyndham City Council. The aim of the MoU was to:
- Develop a flexible resourcing model to meet market demands
- Engage Private sector resourcing support
- Reduce approval times by 50% or more
- Establish initial pilot.
The initial pilot was established between Wyndham City Council, Dennis Family Corporation, Lend Lease, Stockland and Satterley, with each developer contributing $100,000 annually.
Shortly after commencement, the pilot was expanded with the addition of Central Equity, Dacland, Lotus Oaks Developments, LLT Developments, APD Projects and Frasers Property Australia.
Two developers, Stockland and Satterley, have completed their work in Wyndham and have exited the MoU with replacement developers, Country Garden and New Sky entering into the MoU in June 2019.
The annual funding has been partially used to establish a dedicated Growth Area Approvals team (26 additional staff) appointed in planning, landscape design and engineering.
Key Performance Indicators were developed to measure the effectiveness of the Priority Paid Resourcing Pilot. These set targets for timeframes dealing with:
- Planning Permits: Planning permit assessment and approval, including planning permit amendments and secondary consent
- Engineering plan assessment: Functional Layout Plans and Detailed Engineering Plans
- Landscape plan approvals: Landscape Concept and Detailed documentation
- Satisfaction of permit conditions assessment and approval
- Certification and Issue of Statement of Compliance.
The Year 1 review highlighted that whilst the KPIs relating to individual step responses time were being met, the numbers of engineering resubmissions required had increased, along with frustration around several processes outside of the MoU that were impacting on approvals times – these being SEMPs and EMPs.
Responding to these issues in Year 2, there has been a deliberate focus on improving the outcomes, which inherently includes a reduced overall time, rather than focussing on quantity indicators such as ‘response time’. This has seen an improvement in the number of resubmissions and a shortening of the ‘whole of permit’ approval time.
Two Growth Area Councils, Casey City Council and Cardinia Shire Council, are applying the learnings from the Wyndham Priority Service and developing similar MoUs with developers. Interestingly, Casey’s MoU is only focussing on outcomes rather than on time metrics.