Local councils are taking part in a new Artificial Intelligence trial to speed up local planning systems

A host of local cities are among 16 councils across the state introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI) into their planning system.

Newcastle, Cessnock and Lake Macquarie councils will take part in the AI trial that boasts improvements to the quality and accuracy of information when a development application is lodged.

Councils are responsible for 85% of all new dwellings in NSW and the process is often strained by delays, mistakes and site-specific requirements.

The State Government is investing $5.6 million into the initiative in a bid to speed up development assessment times and formed part of the wider AI in NSW Planning package.

The next phase of the project will examine technologies that can work with the NSW Planning Portal to make the benefits of AI available to all applicants.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully says, the technology will help councils tackle the current housing crisis.

“Using technology to assist in the assessment of development applications is a critical way the government can support councils to speed up development assessment times to better address the housing crisis.

“Introducing AI into the planning system is about reducing the administrative workload of planners so that they can get on with their main job of planning. It also helps applicants as it reduces delays by making sure all the required information is provided without repeated requests. This will free up their time and help build more homes faster.

“There is no denying that after a decade of confusing planning reforms and a challenging macroeconomic environment, that approvals have slowed down. As a government we are examining every way we can to speed up our planning system and build homes for our young people, our families and our workers.”