Victoria’s planning system is set undergo a comprehensive review as the government in that state seeks to remove barriers to affordable housing provision.

In a joint announcement, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas and Planning Minister Richard Wynne say they have instructed the Red Tape Commissioner to complete a review aimed at streamlining planning systems and removing unnecessary delays.

The review will build on the findings of a recent Essential Services Commission review of electricity connection delays to identify further improvement opportunities for early-building works approvals and utility connections.

It will focus on the internal and external referral processes that affect the State’s capacity to deliver housing, business and infrastructure investment efficiently.

According to the ministers, the state’s current planning system sees applications bogged down in multiple referral processes and duplications as well as variable internal referral processes within local government.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the review was about delivering a system which was more robust and which helped to deliver new projects.

“We want to create a more streamlined, efficient and effective planning system to deliver construction projects quicker, support jobs and boost our economic competitiveness.”

“We’re striking the right balance between thorough scrutiny and efficiency in our planning decisions.

Master Builders Victoria CEO Rebecca Casson welcomed the review.

At the moment, Casson says planning decisions across the City of Melbourne are made by no fewer than 31 different councils covering 79 different planning areas.

As well, Casson pointed to inconsistencies across councils in approval process management.

She pointed to the example of Stonnington City Council, which took on average 96 days to make a planning decision.

This is more than one month above the required 60 day period and is well above the average across all councils of 69.7 days.

“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,” Casson 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.”