Flying squads to support growth in Wellington Shire
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien says Wellington Shire Council will be better supported to plan the future growth of our community under an elected Liberal Nationals government.
Mr O’Brien said The Nationals will take the pressure off local councils by investing $4.5 million to restore the Council Planning Flying Squad program, giving local councils access to expert planning resources.
“I know many in our community get frustrated by delays in planning applications. This project will help those rural councils under stress to clear the backlog and deal with more complex applications.
“Better planning means our local councils can make the most of new investment opportunities and are best placed to help our existing businesses grow,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The Wellington Shire have completed 5 projects that benefitted under the program allowing them to upskill staff, concentrate on strategic work and clear a backlog of permits.
“The Nationals have a vision to grow all of Victoria – not just Melbourne – which means we need to make sure our communities are best placed to plan for the future.”
Regional councils often do not have the resources and expertise to manage complex issues such as fire, flood and biodiversity conservation when processing applications, preparing reports and in planning enforcement.
The Flying Squads proved to be a success before Labor axed the program in 2015, with more than 140 projects delivered. An independent review found the program had a cost-benefit ratio of $1:3, while the Australian Productivity Commission described it as leading practice.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said councils in rural and regional Victoria were under increased pressure from rates capping, rising costs and skills shortages.
“Daniel Andrews axed the planning flying squad in 2015 and continues to reinforce he’s the Premier for Melbourne by failing to develop a plan to grow all of Victoria, not just Melbourne,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Liberal Nationals have a decentralisation vision to turn Victoria into a state of cities, not just a city state, and that is underpinned by better planning.”
Shadow Minister for Planning David Davis said the Andrews Labor Government’s decision to axe the program was short-sighted.
“Daniel Andrews can’t see past Melbourne’s tram tracks, but the Liberal Nationals will grow the whole state – not just Melbourne,” Mr Davis said.
“If we can help regional and rural councils create business and investment opportunities, then we are also making regional Victoria a more attractive place to live and work.”
Wednesday, 23 May 2018