Councils ranked on housing approvals to speed building

Naming and shaming councils taking too long to approve developments should expand nationwide, builders say.

An online "league table" ranking councils on how many developments they have approved, and how long it took them, has been set up to provide greater data transparency in NSW.

Planning Minister Paul Scully has also delivered an updated statement of expectations demanding councils pitch in to curb the crisis and outline appropriate time frames for approvals.

"If a council is found not to be meeting these expectations, the minister can take these matters into consideration as part of determining if it is appropriate to appoint a planning administrator ... to exercise a council's functions," the updated statement of expectations warns.

Approvals and completions have consistently lagged the required tally of 75,000 per year.

"If we don't measure performance then we can't monitor it properly ... councils approve the vast majority of residential development in our state, so tracking their performance is critical," Mr Scully said.

The Master Builders Association of NSW welcomed the move, saying other states should follow.

"The dashboard confirms that some council areas need to invest more resources in addressing approval backlogs so builders can get on with the job of delivering new homes," executive director Brian Seidler said.

Builders had been previously unable to access information about potential delays to development applications, with the change to help better co-ordinate projects, Mr Seidler said.

The data promotes transparency but might not tell the full story, Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW chief executive Stuart Ayres said.

He said the industry needed a better understanding of time frames for complex development applications delivering more homes.

"We can't be lumping the approval time frames for a residential tower of 100 apartments or a 500-homes subdivision in the same category as the approval of a pool fence or a minor house improvement," he said.

Liverpool City Council acting chief executive Jason Breton told AAP the league table did not account for differences in the type of developments between councils.

Liverpool and Sydney were the only two councils to assess more than $1 billion worth of residential projects in the 2023/24 financial year.

It took 195 days and 150 days respectively, although Liverpool had more applications.

"Large complex applications require time to execute due diligence ... we have all seen in the media what happens when developers cut corners," Mr Breton said.

The data should send a shiver down the spine of council representatives opposed to new housing in their areas, Housing Now Alliance chair David Borger said.

"Locals will now have greater visibility in how decisions made by their local councils will affect them, and this is critical going into local elections later this year," he said.

The 2024/25 financial year has a target of determining applications within 115 days of lodgement, progressively dropping in subsequent financial years until it reaches 85 days from mid-2027.

Forty-one of the state's 128 councils took longer than the targeted 115 days in the previous financial year.

Blacktown City Council assessed the most residential applications (909) for more than $636 million in construction.

It took 65 days on average - 20 days quicker than the target other councils will not be held to for almost three years.

The state also expects councils to lodge development applications within 14 days of submission in 2024/25, dropping to seven days from mid-2025.

Currently, 48 of the state's 128 councils meet the 14-day timeline, and 10 get it done within a week.

The state government is sweetening the pot for the top-performing councils, promising $200 million in financial incentives via infrastructure funding to support increased housing.

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