East Gippsland Shire Council is supporting the region’s economic growth through well-considered planning decisions.
Council’s General Manager Place and Community, Stuart McConnell, said significant investment in East Gippsland by existing landowners and new investors saw planning permit applications steadily increase throughout 2020-21 and 2021-22.
“That represents about 700 applications annually, an increase of about 30 per cent. This is significant and means that we currently receive 60 to 80 new applications a month (83 in November 2021) with a value between $10-15 million,” Mr McConnell said.
“An example of the volume for October to December 2021, in comparison to other rural shires, is that we received and issued more than double the number of new applications.
“The number of planning applications is good news for East Gippsland.”
For the three-month period, October to December 2021our planners dealt with:
- Approximately 40 subdivisions, mainly 2-3 lots or boundary adjustments, but including about eight larger multi-lot subdivisions totaling more than 200 lots.
- Approximately 75 applications relating to buildings and works associated with single dwellings or domestic outbuildings.
- Approximately 20 applications relating to industrial, commercial or community uses.
- Approximately 10 applications relating to new or altered jetties, either for single dwellings, single licences, or commercial uses.
- Six applications for Short Term Modular Home consents (Bushfire Recovery Victoria program).
Mr McConnell said Council has put in place a range of measures to ensure it can respond to the increased activity in East Gippsland.
“While East Gippsland is not immune to an Australia-wide shortage of planners, we have recruited new staff over the past12 months and have also put in place resource sharing with another Brimbank City Council for which we won an award late last year,” Mr McConnell said.
Council has also engaged contract planners to assist with increased applications.
“We have some current vacancies and will be advertising for two statutory planning officers soon and we have a new senior planner commencing in March,” Mr Connell said.
“Process improvements have been implemented and will continue in 2022. There has been a focus on working closely with the development sector and applicants to resolve issues as they arise.”
Mr McConnell said community involvement in the planning process is also increasing.
“We regularly receive objections to applications requiring mediation sessions and Planning Consultation Meetings. This community involvement is important as we endeavour to ensure all parties with an interest can have a say, and increased community involvement also takes time as we work through and seek to resolve community concerns.”
While 97 per cent of planning applications are approved under delegation without requiring a Council meeting decision, Council’s first meeting of the year last week addressed five significant planning matters, and there are more scheduled for upcoming meetings.
“We are getting on with the work and helping drive the region’s economic growth. For example, late last year Council approved a special charge scheme and investment for water infrastructure that will enable growth of the Bairnsdale South Industrial Estate.
“In 2022 we are looking forward to continuing to progress projects and applications with skilled planning knowledge and getting on with the important job of enabling growth in our region.”