The McGowan Government’s historic planning reforms have passed the Legislative Assembly and will now be sent to the Legislative Council for debate.
The majority of these reforms are the culmination of three years of extensive consultation, which are now being urgently brought forward to support the wider economic response to the pandemic, protect WA jobs and create new job opportunities.
A series of amendments to planning legislation and regulations will simplify the planning system, cut red tape and increase support for small business.
Upon the passing of the legislation, a new development application process will be immediately introduced to support significant, job-creating projects for the next 18 months to provide immediate support for the State’s economic recovery.
The legislative reforms will be supported by changes to planning regulations and State planning policies, and add to the launch of Design WA policies last year which prioritise the importance of good design in planning and development.
Further proposed changes in the reforms will provide flexibility for small businesses, improve community engagement requirements and increase the number of exemptions for approval.
The majority of the proposed amendments are part of the State Government’s Action Plan on Planning Reform and follow three years of consultation to remove barriers in the planning system, provide greater clarity and consistency for users of the system and reduce the administrative burden on the State’s 134 local governments.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“These planning reforms will cut red tape, create local jobs and drive economic activity following COVID-19.
“Now that this legislation has passed the lower house, I urge the Legislative Council to pass this bill to help Western Australia in our post-COVID economic recovery.”
As stated by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti:
“We have worked hard to put together a strong package of planning reforms that will immediately respond to the economic challenges ahead.
“Business as usual simply won’t suffice right now – we need a planning system that supports major job-creating projects, supports small businesses chasing a dream and supports residents wanting to invest in home improvements.
“As it stands, we have a system that can delay decisions on major projects for years, while small businesses can be hit with thousands of dollars in fees before even opening their doors.
“Innovation and growth thrives when the right systems are in place to support them. Our planning reform package sets the foundation for businesses to overcome barriers and jobs to be created.
“The planning system also prospers when it works with the community from the start, and strengthened processes are a key part of our reforms.