Councils across New South Wales are turning to AI for development approvals.

A new state government program is reportedly attracting “keen interest” from various councils.

It comes as NSW is grappling with significant housing supply issues, further strained by protracted approval times. 

Data from the state government suggests the average period for determining a development application has surged from 83 days in the 2021/22 financial year to 107 days in 2023/24. 

For councils in areas like Georges River, Liverpool, Bowral, and Queanbeyan, wait times have stretched beyond 195 days, exacerbating construction delays and escalating costs.

Builders are reporting delays of up to a year on projects, a situation that obstructs new home deliveries and inflates expenses. 

At a recent Property Council event, NSW Planning Minister Paul Scully was reportedly informed he had a “zero per cent chance” of meeting housing needs without immediate AI adoption.

The NSW Department of Planning's $5.6 million AI initiative is touted to significantly shorten these timelines, although the specifics of its application remain under wraps. 

Proponents say AI systems will be used to swiftly review applications against planning guidelines, identifying discrepancies early in the process.