Why is it that practically every stat published by council is highly questionable? The latest example concerns their statement that for the financial years of 2015/16 and 2016/17 planning permit approvals were granted for the following numbers of net new dwellings –

  • 2604 net (additional) dwellings approved in in 2015/2016.
  • 2728 net (additional) dwellings approved in in 2016/2017.

Councils are required to forward their data to the State Government’s DWELP. The numbers are then put onto the Planning Permit Activity website. This section of the department basically serves as a repository for data that has been supplied by councils. Thus we are left with the question of the accuracy of the supplied data. Which figures are residents to believe? Council can’t have it both ways. Either the figures quoted above are a fiction, or those supplied to the government are a fiction.

Here is what the Planning Permit Activity reports as the results for 2015/15 and 2016/17 based on their quarterly reports (See: https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/publications/planning-permit-activity-in-victoria/planning-permit-activity-quarterly-report ) Readers can then backtrack to the various three quarterly reports and add up the figures for themselves.

2015/16 – 2133

2016/17 – 1806

The discrepancies are not minor – equalling roughly 500 net new dwelling approvals in 2015/16 and 900 in 2016/17. How can this happen and if deliberate, then what is the purpose?

Perhaps the answer might lie in these figures (which are correct) provided by council –

Within the past two years we have seen the following Building Permit net dwelling approvals:
·         1681 net (additional) dwellings approved in in 2015/2016.
·         1993 net (additional) dwellings approved in in 2016/2017.
According to council, the correlation per year between building permits and planning permits approaches the 1000 discrepancy mark. But if we look at the Permit Activity numbers from the government website, the discrepancy halves and makes the following council statement that much harder to swallow –
However, planning permits and even building permits are not always acted upon, and so they do not paint an accurate picture of what will be constructed. In fact, ID consulting advice show that historically in Glen Eira, only just over half of dwellings approved through a building permit will go on to be constructed.
Does this paragraph mean it will never be built, or just for the respective year? What about ten years down the track? Are we still maintaining that only 50% is built? We admit that there is land banking, or some developers may go bust, but we certainly dispute the figure of 50%. Obtaining land, planning permits, building permits, constitutes a huge investment. Then there are undoubtedly finance costs, interest, land tax, etc. etc. Money is in building and selling and since property prices are already at an all time high, and forecast to drop, why would any developer sit back with his planning and building permits and not act on these? And finally, is such a statement by council intended to cast doubt on the fact that Glen Eira is without a shadow of a doubt the development capitol of the South East?