Focusing on planning permits

Latrobe City has reiterated its focus to cut down the time it takes to process planning permits, which was highlighted in a recently-launched online index.

Regional Australia Institute’s interactive map and online index, Insight, shows it takes Latrobe City a median number of 96 days to process a development application, almost double the 49 days it takes in Baw Baw Shire and more than double the 42 days it takes in Wellington Shire.

Latrobe City chief executive Paul Buckley said he thought the numbers related to 2011 data and while the times have improved since then, bringing the processing time down continued to be a strong focus of council.

Latrobe City’s manager city planning Chris Wightman said council has made significant improvements to its processing timeframes since 2010/2011 with 60 per cent of decisions now being made within 60 statutory days during 2012/2013 to date, compared to only 47 per cent in 2010/2011.

“We also acknowledge that these improvements need to continue moving forward,” Mr Wightman said.

“The council plan 2013 to 2017 has recognised planning for the future as one of the five key themes.”

He said it was, however, important to balance reducing processing times, with providing quality land use and development.

“There have been recent improvements to our processing with the introduction of the SPEAR electronic lodgement system and with (three) additional frontline staff including an additional manager in the planning team currently being recruited,” Mr Wightman said.

“With these initiatives we hope to see a continued reduction in processing times.”