The McGowan Government is seeking community, industry and stakeholder feedback on the next phase of reforms to streamline the planning system, slash red tape, and create and provide consistency across local government.
Planning reform has assisted the State’s economic recovery over the past year, delivering essential reductions in red tape to support small businesses and homeowners while supporting local jobs.
A series of legislative, regulatory and policy reforms have already been implemented, including consistent community consultation requirements for Local Planning Strategies, scheme amendments and Structure Plans along with a radius model and new onsite signage requirements for complex Development Applications.
The reforms also saw the creation of a new approvals pathway for significant developments and changes to the Development Assessment Panel (DAP) system, including improved governance and transparency requirements.
Seven proposals have been approved under the new significant development pathway, with another 13 currently under assessment.
These seven proposals are anticipated to create more than 1,600 local jobs and bring more than $220 million in economic activity to Western Australia.
To date, the reforms have seen the number of DAPs reduce from nine to five panels and from next year, the number of DAPs will reduce from five to three and will see the appointment of permanent DAP members for consistency of decision making.
A Special Matters Development Panel will also be created to continue to consider State-significant developments.
The State Government is now seeking the views of all Western Australians on measures to further reform the planning system, including reforms in the local government sector that can support changes in our planning system and identify changes to encourage more community participation through improved processes and greater access to information.
Over the next three months, the community, industry and planning professionals will be consulted on a number of proposed reforms to help inform the drafting of legislation.
This consultation will be led by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage Planning Reform team, in consultation with the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, and will be open until late October.
A local government red tape working group will be established to identify and test potential reforms in regards to local laws and reform.
Opportunities to mirror reforms across the local government sector to further cut red tape, improve transparency and support better decision making across all levels of government will also be explored in consultation with local governments, the Western Australian Local Government Association and key stakeholders.
To have your say on planning reform, visit https://www.dplh.wa.gov.au/planning-reform
As stated by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti:
“Last year we successfully delivered a major package of planning reforms to support the Western Australian economy and local jobs through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are building on the first stage of reforms to continue to streamline the planning process, cut red tape and drive economic activity.
“Some of the major reforms we are looking to implement in this tranche include establishing a State referral co-ordination process to allow the co-ordination of State agency, utilities and departmental referrals for significant development applications.
“Other ideas include investigating an expansion of Government-led structure planning for areas of key strategic importance, further reform of developer contribution plans and establishing a planning portal to provide a single source of information for the public, industry and local government.
“We also want to hear from the community, industry and planning professionals about their top ideas of what they would like to see changed in the planning system.
“Our planning reform team will be out listening and engaging over the next three months to understand what works, what needs to be changed and what the community wants from their planning system.”
As stated by Local Government Minister John Carey:
“Local government approvals can be difficult for small business and households to navigate, with significant differences in approaches by councils.
“This is a unique opportunity to identify reforms in the local government sector that can support changes in our planning system and improve the consistency of decision making on planning and development matters.
“During COVID-19, emergency powers enabled the suspension of some rules for local government approvals, which saw councils move very quickly to cut red tape and assist small business to adapt in a pandemic environment.
“There is real potential to build on this effort, by reviewing local laws which can cause a burden in terms of both cost and time, like alfresco laws, signage and crossovers.
“I am very keen to hear from industry, small business and local governments to see how we can make it easier and more streamlined for ratepayers.”