Redlands Planning Director survey reveals COVID-19 “state of play”

COVID-19 had resulted in rapid change in planning departments across the State.

Early analysis of interviews conducted by the Institute on 7 and 8 April 2020 with Planning Directors in both metropolitan and regional locations throughout the State shows planning teams are quickly moving to remote working and are cognisant of their critical role in saving industry jobs by getting on with core business on their side of the fence.

Redland City Council

Interviewee: Chris Vise

What changes have you made to your department to ensure business continuity?

  • Smooth transition, approximately half of staff working from home. The rest available in office with changeover occurring
  • Council still providing the full suite of services, main counter at Cleveland open.
  • Are discouraging hard copy applications but plan sealing applications being dealt with immediately.
  • Redland COVID-19 webpage accessible here.

What has been the greatest challenge or obstacle you have run into?

  • Smooth transition with health and safety arrangements put in place
  • Scenario thinking completed on possible future requirements.

What is the next change you think you will need to put in place to respond?

  • Council has put in place a response package on the 26th of March
  • We are now working on a round two of response.
  • urrently assessing options for decision by council at the end of April
  • Economic Response Package details here.

How can the Institute be included in the development of your recovery plan?

  • Open to ideas from the Institute and understand the importance of keeping construction jobs going
  • Have been looking at innovation around infrastructure charging.

Have you implemented any of these proposals?

Focussing resourcing on avoiding delays to plan sealing processes

No, currently working well, being monitored

Investing more resourcing in avoiding delays to existing Development Applications

No, currently working well, being monitored

Establishing a Low Risk Team to process

No, currently have geographical teams in place and this is working well

Pre-emptively establishing outsourcing arrangements or a pre-qualified suppliers panel for planning, engineering and other relevant professions

No, but have been in liaison with some consultancies should needs arise

Relaxing restrictions on on-site work work hours

No, but being monitored and approached sensitively by compliance team

Providing a new home builder’s grant (like Rockhampton Regional Council)

Not at this stage but would be something looked at game counsels considerations at the end of April

Providing immediate offset refunds for LGIP trunk infrastructure

No concerns raised around offset/ refund timings, but will monitor.