Griffith Council at the top of the DA game

COUNCIL has turned around its slow development application (DA) process after years of community complaints, a government report has shown.

Griffith City Council has ranked third out of 30 regional cities in NSW for its DA processing times in 2012-2013, a jump from sixth according to the Local Development Performance Monitoring Report published by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

The report showed that, on average, council took 38 days to determine a DA - an improvement of five days from the previous period and well ahead of the average 68 days across NSW. 

Griffith was third behind Albury (33 days) and Tamworth (36 days) and outperformed cities such as Wagga (50 days), Orange (50 days), Bathurst (40 days) and Lismore (67 days), for cities that have a population of 70,000 people or under.

Griffith also recorded a significant increase in the value of DAs from $31 million in 2011-2012 to $68.9 million in 2012-2013. 

The city's ranking in the report is an excellent achievement that demonstrates continual progress in council's DA process, said council director of sustainable development, Neil Southorn.

"This is an important and encouraging result as it highlights that not only has Griffith been able to sustain fast turnaround times, but improve them," Mr Southorn said. 

"There is also more business coming in the door, which is another good sign. 

"We encourage residents who are interested in undertaking a development in Griffith, big or small, to meet with council staff to discuss their proposals."

The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure publishes the report each year. It provides comprehensive statistics about development in NSW, including information about the volume, value and type of development and council processing times. 

The report showed Griffith recorded an increase in the number of DAs submitted in 2012-2013 from 200 to 220, Construction Certificates increased from 155 to 175, and the number of Complying Development Certificates increased from 49 to 56.

"These statistics represent an important upswing in development activity in Griffith since the low period of the last few years," Mr Southorn said.

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