Decline in ACT Building Approvals the Largest in Australia

Posted 2 September 2019

Decline in ACT Building Approvals the Largest in Australia

New ABS figures demonstrate that the challenges facing Canberra’s building industry are mounting. The value of total building work approved in the ACT was down 76.9% on the same month last year, the largest decline of any State or Territory in Australia. 

Michael Hopkins, CEO of Master Builders ACT said, “Canberra’s strong population growth and economic fundamentals traditionally buffer the local building industry from national declines, however local factors including delays in the ACT’s development approval system are now weighing heavily on the local industry.”

“For the past 12 months members have reported that the time taken to receive a development approval in the ACT is taking longer, with delays of up to 10 months not uncommon,” said Mr Hopkins. 

Accountability Indicators for the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate released with the 2019-20 ACT Budget show that 39% of development application decisions were made within statutory timeframes.

Mr Hopkins said, “The value of commercial building work in the ACT was $0.1 Billion for July 2019 down 63.4% compared to the same month last year, and total dwelling approvals were 277 in July down 63.5% compared to the same month last year.”

“Government has been too slow to respond to the development approval crisis. Additional resources alone are not enough to restore industry’s confidence in the independent planning authority,” he said. 

Mr Hopkins said, “The MBA has suggested Government consider recruiting resources from other parts of Government, utilising resources within the private sector, and setting up a fast-track system for simple low value applications.” 

“Without urgent action by Government to correct the crisis in development assessment investment, jobs and local businesses are at risk,” said Mr Hopkins.

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