Is the latest announcement by Adam Couch on changes to DA processes a warning sign for us to heed? (“New funding to speed up assessment times for regionally significant DAs” Chronicle p8 July 14).
Usually, “deliver(ing) greater benefits to our community faster” (correct grammar is not mandatory in these pronouncements) is code for reducing the community’s involvement in the approval process, so as to increase profitability for developers, but who can be sure?
Nevertheless, the whole statement by Adam Crouch is couched in such impenetrable political jargon, designed to obfuscate rather than illuminate what is going on, that the suspicion must be that our right to be involved in decision making about our future is being again threatened.
What is puzzling is that he refers specifically to “regionally significant” development applications as being the target for these changes.
However, these projects are dealt with by the Planning Panel.
Therefore, it is difficult to see why Central Coast City Council is being awarded $350,000 to improve technology (whatever that means, if anything), to hire new staff (of course) and to develop new guidelines (what was wrong with the old ones?), when it is not the responsible authority for these projects.
What happens to all these new resources when the pilot program ends?
We certainly don’t want the costs whose rewards aren’t immediately discernible to be transferred to the ratepayers who are already burdened with a huge load of debt.
We have had previous efforts to intervene in the development approval process, without much improvement.
I am all for streamlining the administration and it would be encouraging if we could see any sign of that happening under the Administrator.
However, this initiative sounds more like expanding the bureaucracy, without any clear demonstration that the end result is recognisably promising as a way of benefitting the community.
Email, July 19
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy