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2,648 days of DA delays as Orange council "can't buy staff at the moment"

June 8, 2022

Stock image.

By David Fitzsimons

Orange council is taking eight days longer than normal to process development applications and the blow-outs are even longer for decisions on major construction projects.

Staff shortages and the newly-introduced use of the state government’s planning portal have been blamed for the delays in processing building work applications.

A report to this week’s council meeting reveals the council target for DA decisions is 35 days, but they are now taking 43 days on average.

The delays on construction certificates have gone from 30 days to 39 days while complying development certificates are out from 15 days to 27 days for approval.

Councillor Tony Mileto said the latest figures showed processing times for 331 DAs had “blown out.”

“If you add these altogether it works out to 2,648 days,” he said.

Mileto said he was concerned about the workload for staff.

Council’s director of community and cultural services Scott Maunder said they were struggling to find workers.

“You can’t buy staff at the moment,” he said.

“We struggle on a commercial basis to compete against private certifiers.

“The quality of our staff, they could go to Sydney and be on $250,000 a year.

“Last year we advertised three times for a building surveyor. We’ve still got two vacancies there. They’re hard to get.”

He said they were also looking to recruit young people for cadet positions.

Maunder said the building industry and council staff had noticed DA processing was also being slowed by applicants having to use the state government planning portal.

“That has dragged things out. It can take up to nine days at the moment to lodge an application,” he said.

“It goes backwards and forwards that many times, quite frustrating.”

Mayor Jason Hamling said the council was talking to the building industry to find ways to streamline and speed up the processes.


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