Master Builders Victoria welcomed yesterday’s announcement by the Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas of a comprehensive review of Victoria’s building and planning approvals processes, designed to remove red tape and streamline local and state government planning systems.

Master Builders Victoria CEO Rebecca Casson said she was delighted to see logic prevail in finally answering one of the building industry’s biggest headaches.

“As the leading voice in the building and construction industry, we have long advocated for better coordination and consistency in decision making and there’s no doubt that our state’s complex planning approvals regime has been a significant stumbling block for the industry, where there’s never been greater demand for growth,” she said.

“Currently, planning decisions for the City of Melbourne are made by no fewer than 31 different councils and there’s a total of 79 local government areas for the State of Victoria.”

Ms Casson also pointed out that there were notable inconsistencies across councils in how they managed planning approvals.

“For example, in 2017-18, Stonnington City Council took on average 96 days to make a planning decision – more than one month longer than the required 60-day timeframe - and much higher than the all- council average of 69.7 days,” she said.

“While we certainly understand the need for councils to get things right, the reality is that unduly long and complicated approvals process are costing the industry money and consumers unnecessary delays in accessing either their new homes or much-anticipated renovations.”

According to yesterday’s announcement, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas and Planning Minister Richard Wynne have instructed the Red Tape Commissioner to complete a review, aimed at removing delays and to support the delivery of essential housing and infrastructure.

“Master Builders Victoria has been lobbying for many years for a review into planning delays,” said Ms Casson.

“We look forward to now working with the Red Tape Commissioner, Anna Cronin, to contribute to this important review, and ensure that there is a feasible, practical and sensible solution to these unnecessary delays in approvals.”

The findings of the review are due to be handed to the Victorian State Government by the end of the year.