Some councils, especially those in regional areas, are experiencing a shortage of qualified and experienced planners. Under-resourced councils have reduced capacity to assess development applications (DAs), meaning longer assessment times, fewer DAs determined and delays in the delivery of regional housing.
The NSW Government is boosting the capacity of councils to speed up assessment times and deliver much-needed housing in regional NSW.
The Regional Housing Flying Squad Program was initially launched in April 2022. It is a free resourcing program for all 96 regional councils that allows them to outsource the assessment of certain housing DAs to a team of planners in the Planning Delivery Unit.
Expressions of interest
Expressions of interest for the program are open for:
- all residential DAs (excluding single dwelling and dual occupancy DAs) from Friday 9 June to 5pm, Friday 23 June 2023
- single dwelling and dual occupancy DAs from Monday 19 June to 5 pm, Friday 23 June 2023.
Further expressions of interest for single dwelling and dual occupancy DAs will open from:
- 24 to 28 July 2023
- 21 to 25 August 2023.
Councils can find out more information about the application process on the NSW Planning Portal, including the program guidelines and frequently asked questions.
We are committed to growing and supporting regional NSW by ensuring the right homes are ready to go in the right places.
For queries and further information about the program, councils can email [email protected]
Regional planner incubator
The Regional Housing Flying Squad will contribute to long-term solutions for the regional planner shortage through its ‘incubator’ program, which will see graduates and students with no planning experience train alongside experienced planners while building connections with regional councils that will hopefully lead to regional employment opportunities and filling planning vacancies in regional councils.
The flying squad will serve as a training and launching pad for new planners, while maintaining an experienced assessment team to focus on delivery.
Offices for regional council staff
The Planning Delivery Unit enables regional councils to recruit planners from all over the state without them needing to leave home through CoPlan Spaces.
CoPlan Spaces is a free program that provides up to 50 workstations in our DPE offices across NSW for regional councils to base new planning recruits. Workstations are available to councils for free in our offices in Armidale, Broken Hill, Gunnedah, Moree, Newcastle, Orange, Parramatta, Queanbeyan, and Wollongong.
Visit the NSW Planning Portal for more information and to book a workplace.