Flying squads to support rural councils
21 September 2018
Planning flying squads will be reintroduced to support development and investment in regional Victoria if The Nationals are elected to government in November.
Ratepayers will benefit from the flying squad program which will help take the pressure off rural councils, speeding up lengthy planning delays and reducing council’s costs.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals, Steph Ryan said the flying squads would support The Nationals’ decentralization plan to encourage business to expand, relocate and invest in regional Victoria.
“The reintroduction of these flying squads will mean Benalla will have more support to expedite the development of new industries like, for example, John Holland and CPB Construction’s concrete plant,” Ms Ryan said.
“Benalla Rural City previously benefited from the work of the flying squads in 2014.
“Their assistance with planning permits helped clear a backlog of work and increased statutory planning staff time to focus on other permits and reduce costs to council.
“Council takes an average of 21 days to make a decision on a planning application, with 96 per cent of those applications resolved within the required timeframe.
“On average, the direct cost to council of the statutory planning service per application is $1,600.
“The flying squad allowed communities to make the most of development and new investment opportunities in country Victoria however, Daniel Andrews axed the program in 2015.
“An independent review found the flying squads had a cost-benefit ratio of $1:$3, with the program cited as leading practice by the Australian Productivity Commission,” Ms Ryan said.
“The Nationals have a decentralization vision to turn Victoria into a state of cities, not just a city state and that is underpinned by better planning.
“If we can help regional councils create business and investment opportunities, then we are also making regional Victoria a more attractive place to live and work.”