Home New South Wales Secretary updates Property Council on DPHI restructure

Secretary updates Property Council on DPHI restructure

  • April 18, 2024
  • by Property Australia
Property Council offered members an exclusive briefing on the DPHI restructure.

Property Council members have heard exclusively from Department of Planning Housing and Infrastructure Secretary Kiersten Fishburn on the largest machinery of government change and the first functional review the Department has seen over 10 years. 

On Monday, the Department will be structured into two discrete business areas: 

  • Planning, Land Use Strategy, Housing and Infrastructure, led by Acting Deputy Secretary Monica Gibson 

  • Development Assessment and Sustainability, led by Deputy Secretary David Gainsford 

Under each Deputy Secretary are six executive directors, with distinct remits, to reduce the duplicity of work. This is intended to streamline the Department to one that is sharper, simpler, more transparent and logical. 

Addressing the room, Kiersten Fishburn acknowledged that NSW cannot deliver the dwellings we need without the significant work of Property Council members.  

Ms Fishburn noted that prior to commencing the restructure the inefficiencies of the top-heavy structure were apparent, and not conducive to delivering the outcomes the 377,000 new homes NSW needs by 2029.  

The restructure reduces the number of Directors, Executive Directors and Deputy Secretaries with no net reduction in Award Staff, who work at the front line of planning and development assessment. 

Planning, Land Use Strategy, Housing and Infrastructure (PLUSHI) 

Acting Deputy Secretary Monica Gibson is heading up the Planning, Land Use Strategy, Housing and Infrastructure business line of the department, which is responsible for the creation of overarching planning policies. 

Her team consists of the following Executive Directors: 

  • Tom Loomes, Executive Director, Strategic Planning & Policy 

  • Anthea Sargeant, Executive Director, State Rezoning 

  • Daniel Thompson, Acting Executive Director, Local Planning & Council Support (from 6 May 2024) 

  • Jonathon Schipp, Executive Director, Infrastructure Programs 

  • Hanna Shalbaf, Acting Executive Director, Governance and Insights 

  • Alison Burton and Leah Schramm, Acting Executive Director, Planning Delivery and Integration. 

Development Assessment and Sustainability 

David Gainsford has been appointed as Deputy Secretary, Development Assessment and Sustainability. His team is tasked with handling the assessment of specific applications and approvals. 

His team consists of the following Executive Directors: 

  • Clay Preshaw, Executive Director, Energy Resource and Assessment 

  • Erica van den Honert, Executive Director, Infrastructure Assessment 

  • Ben Lusher, Acting Executive Director, Housing and Key Sites Assessment 

  • Steve Hartley, Acting Executive Director, Environment and Assessment Policy 

  • Abbie Galvin, NSW Government Architect 

  • David McNamara, Executive Director, Operations & Planning Delivery 

Cultural Change: Feasibility and Planning Delivery Unit 

Touting the Department as one that will work alongside industry, the Secretary flagged a cultural change within the Department, with an emphasis on ensuring planning priorities and decisions deliver outcomes which are economically feasible. 

As part of a further cultural change within the Department, the Secretary confirmed the previous Planning Delivery Unit functions will become a practice of the whole Department. In articulating this vision, it was said that the problem-solving ethos of the unit is something that should be a priority for everyone. 

Don’t forget employment lands 

For the first time, the Department will have a specialised role for coordinating the planning functions of employment lands. It was acknowledged that Sydney has a chronic shortage of zoned and serviced industrial land and confirmed that Jane Grose will take on the role of Director Employment Land Delivery Program. 

Fixing the Planning Portal 

There will also be a single lead for the Planning Portal to address the ongoing functionality issues and deliver much-needed improvements to coordination, referral, and end-user lodgement experience. Nerida Mooney has been appointed as the Acting Executive Director, Digital Analytics and Insights, to commence this work. 

Transport Oriented Development 

Answering audience questions on assessment time frames, the Department pointed to the Transport Oriented Development rezoning reforms as an indication of their new delivery mind set. Under a previous model a rezoning of this scale would expect to take between 5-10 years, while this has been done in five months. For State Significant Developments, an 80 day turn around will continue to be the benchmark.