Planning and Development Building Gympie
Planning and Development Building Gympie

Council reveals results of review into its Planning Department

GYMPIE Regional Council on Wednesday night released the findings of an independent review of its Planning Department, which highlighted a need for better consistency, communication, transparency and project support.

The full report is available to download at the council’s Better Pathways to Planning webpage and describes the key findings from the one-on-one interviews, workshops, briefings and survey responses.

It also provides a list of recommendations, including:

  • updating communication and engagement protocols
  • improving communication and education materials
  • learning from other councils
  • mapping the customer experience.

Council CEO Bernard Smith has invited local residents to read the consultant’s report in full.

“Over the last week, council’s management team has been reviewing the consultant’s report and developing an action plan that directly responds to the recommendations,” he said.

Gympie Regional Council CEO Bernard Smith
Gympie Regional Council CEO Bernard Smith

“A copy of the action plan will be made available over the coming weeks.

“(Wednesday) both myself and members of our executive team ran information sessions to share the report’s key findings, our action plan for change, as well as the work that is already underway to improve people’s experiences of our planning and development services.

“A copy of the presentation slides from this evening’s information session is available to download on the Better Pathways to Planning web page.

“We will now be working hard to roll out our action plan so that we can offer our community a better way.”

Gympie Town Hall
Gympie Town Hall

A summary of the council’s action plan says the department is “working towards” better communication and engagement, better awarenes of other practice, better ptocesses and systems, better collaborations and better policy”.

It has already started making progress on smoothing out the development and planning pathway by arranging for key council officers to visit different councils to review and reflect upon their processes and system.

Gympie council planning officers will also undertake the inspections for each applicatoin, and monthly meetings between key council staff will be held to discuss planning matters, including significant projects.

The Planning Department co-ordinator/manager will attend every pre-application meeting to ensure consistent advice is given to customers who will also have access to a suite of fact sheets to help them navigate the development application process.

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