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Port Stephens Council wins at Planning Institute of Australia awards for excellence

Publish Date 07/11/2014

Port Stephens Council is celebrating another win this week, after receiving the award for Improving Planning Processes and Practices at the Planning Institute of Australia NSW Awards for Excellence gala dinner on Wednesday night.

The annual awards for excellence in planning promote the benefits of planning to the community at large, recognise outstanding achievements of planners, and acknowledge the role of public and private organisations in creating environments of distinction.

In the past two years, Port Stephens Council has facilitated in excess of $600m worth of development approvals, reduced its average net DA approval time to under 15 days and increased development industry satisfaction to over 90%.

Council's Development Assessment and Compliance Manager, Matthew Brown, says people are at the heart of the team's pursuit of excellence.

"Delivering development assessment with premium customer satisfaction is all about putting people before process and fostering a relationship with applicants," he said. "That way, we can deliver the best service in the shortest amount of time. It's just so rewarding to be acknowledged by our peers after two years of hard work."

Council's Manager of Development Services, Mike McIntosh, says the journey to refining this process has been an exercise in balance.

"Getting the balance right between achieving sustainable yet progressive development is not easy in one of New South Wales' most constrained local government areas, but with the right people and the right processes the opportunity to attract appropriate investment is made so much easier," he said.

Port Stephens Mayor, Cr. Bruce MacKenzie shared his congratulations for the Development Services team's win.

"This is a truly fantastic result. I am very proud of the hard work by the Development Services team to enhance our planning approval process and it is fitting that the team has been recognised for their focus on achieving great planning outcomes for our community by the PIA," Mayor MacKenzie said.

"To be recognised for our customer focus and service delivery at the highest level is a very significant achievement."

All state winners from Wednesday night's awards are automatically entered in the Institute"s Annual National Awards for Excellence, which will be held in March 2015.