Port Stephens Council has taken out the Culture Change Innovation and Excellence award for a ‘Large Regional Council’ at the first Local Government NSW (LGNSW) Planning Awards.
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Port Stephens was one of six councils recognised for leadership and innovation in planning and development at the awards, which took place at a breakfast at Parliament House.
Mike McIntosh, Council’s Development Services Group Manager, says he’s extremely proud of the team’s efforts.
“This award is recognition of many years of hard work that our staff have put in to create a culture where we facilitate the right type of investment and development for Port Stephens,” Mr McIntosh said.
“Many people don’t realise that behind the scenes, a lot of discussion goes on between our staff and developers – whether they are mums and dads, or larger scale – to get the right outcome for our community and our region before it comes into the public arena.
“This customer centric approach to planning has been a game changer for our team, as it inspires them to think about what they love about creating good communities and how they can help to achieve that for Port Stephens,” he added.
Mr McIntosh says that the culture change has contributed to Council’s Development Application approval times being well below the state average.
“As a large regional Council, we have over $300 million a year in Development Approvals, so it’s pretty impressive that we’ve been able to maintain this volume while dramatically reducing approval timeframes.
“It all comes back to the hard work of our team, who are focused on fostering a balanced approach to development and ensuring that Port Stephens remains an attractive place where people want to come and live their dreams,” he said.