Fast track applications

The formation of a Fast Track Development Team has reduced the average time to process development applications in Parramatta by 33%.

The Team has streamlined the approval process and turnaround times for applications which comply with statutory requirements and are complete. This accounts for approximately 40% of applications. The average turnaround is 24 days.

Manager Development Ken Ferris said when applications come into Council they go straight to the Fast Track Team who practise a 'triage' process. Applications which are fully compliant skip queues, while applications which are obviously non compliant or may be proposed for sensitive areas are subject to a site inspection and public exhibition. If, following exhibition, no objections are raised, they are then processed with other applications.

Further efficiencies have been achieved through having a checklist at the front counter where staff are trained to scrutinise applications for compliance and full information before they go to the Development Unit. "We have had very good feedback about the system," Ken Ferris said. "Many people have expressed surprise at how quickly their application has been dealt with. "This is good for customer relations and it is good for staff morale. By providing better customer service it makes our job easier."

Mayor Paul Garrard said comparative figures on development applications do not reflect the whole story. He said they fail to acknowledge circumstances which complicate the development application process through no fault of the Councils.

He said Parramatta has a high number of applications for very large projects and redevelopments which are complex and generate community concerns which must be addressed. "Council encourages conciliation meetings between all parties in a bid to achieve an acceptable outcome, which, understandably, takes more time," he said.

He said adoption of the Parramatta Regional Environmental Plan (REP) which covers the CBD area and the draft Comprehensive Plan incorporating a Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plan are expected to improve development application processing times even further.

For further information contact Ken Ferris, telephone (02) 9806 5571