An additional $3.1 billion in economic benefits are expected to be realised over the coming decade across NSW following permanent adoption of many initiatives introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Treasurer Matt Kean said most of the temporary regulations introduced to support businesses and individuals due to COVID-19 had proven to be both popular and effective and, after consultation and evaluation, it made sense to retain them.
“From allowing greater use of food trucks and dark kitchens, to giving workers more flexibility in how they take long service leave – these measures have been providing the extra support many businesses needed during COVID-19,” Mr Kean said.
“By keeping these changes, we are allowing more paper processes to be handled digitally, more meetings to occur remotely, greater flexibility for home business operations and keeping people in jobs.
“Analysis shows the net economic benefit over 10 years, as a result of these regulation reforms, is $3.1 billion in flexibility and time savings, with increased long service leave flexibility for workers delivering $1.9 billion of that.”
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the planning system had been an enabler for productivity and growth during the pandemic.
“The disruption of the pandemic allowed us to experiment with how the planning system can work better to drive productivity. We’re now securing those benefits in perpetuity,” Mr Stokes said.
“We know the pandemic has spurred new ways of living, working and playing, and the planning system must support those shifts and allow our communities to live better lives.”
NSW Productivity Commissioner Peter Achterstraat AM recommended in his White Paper this year that the temporary measures brought in as a result of COVID be evaluated with a view to being made permanent.
“Earlier this year the NSW Government agreed to extend temporary COVID-19 regulatory reforms for 12 months, evaluate the reforms and keep those shown to have a net public benefit,” Mr Achterstraat said.
“It’s now been proven many of the changes have positive impacts. This is how good regulatory reform works – having an experimental and flexible approach to regulation can bring positive change for the community.”
The temporary changes made permanent include:
The NSW Productivity Commission’s White Paper can be read here: productivity.nsw.gov.au/white-paper
More information available here: planning.nsw.gov.au/COVID19