One-stop shop benefits council
SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council planning staff attended the recent Planning Institute Australia's 2013 Queensland awards and were pleased to see Queensland's innovative one-stop shop State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) awarded the top prize.
Director of planning and environment Ken Harris said SARA won the overall award against 14 finalists from 70 nominees.
"The State Government launched SARA on July 1 this year to deliver on the government's key election promises of cutting red-tape and delivering better planning," Mr Harris said.
"Council's planning staff have found SARA to be a great asset, streamlining the applications process which in turn delivers time and cost savings."
Planning and development manager Cecil Barnard said the SARA win was well deserved and local governments across Queensland had benefited from the creation of the new agency.
"SARA replaced seven separate referral agencies across government with just one. It just made good sense," Mr Barnard said.
Planning Institute state president Kate Isles said "SARA is an excellent response to repeated calls from industry to address timing and cost inefficiencies caused by having multiple referral triggers to multiple agencies."
More than 1100 applications have been lodged using SARA's online lodgements.