Western Australia’s planning approvals process will be comprehensively reformed and streamlined under new measures being proposed by the Liberal-National Government.
Planning Minister John Day said a Bill introduced to State Parliament today to modify the Planning and Development Act 2005 would make the system more transparent, consistent and efficient.
Mr Day said that as the State approached another period of significant economic growth, the proposals would also cut uncertainty and delays for those wanting to invest in this State.
“These legislative reforms are some of the most comprehensive ever undertaken in Western Australia,” he said.
“We know that communities and investors are unhappy with some of the red tape and inefficiencies of the current system.
“The proposals will have significant benefit for all involved in planning, including local and State governments and communities.
“They will ensure WA continues to prosper and remain an internationally-competitive place to live and do business.”
Most of the proposals outlined in the Bill have been previously detailed in the Building a Better Planning System document released in April 2009, the subsequent ‘Planning makes it happen: A blueprint for reform’ document, and the discussion paper on Development Assessment Panels, both released in September this year.
“Under the proposals, development assessment panels would be established, resulting in more transparent, consistent and efficient decision-making on development applications and giving local governments the opportunity to refocus their resources on strategic planning,” the Minister said.
“The panels will consist of elected local government representatives and professionals who will consider development applications over certain monetary values. This will boost the level of planning and technical expertise in assessing development applications while ensuring the appropriate level of local government representation in decision-making.”
The Bill would also allow the use of improvement plans throughout the State, not just in areas where region planning schemes existed.
“Improvement plans and corresponding improvement schemes would allow the State Government to take control of areas that have been chosen for developments of State or regional significance,” Mr Day said.
“Improvement schemes will allow planning and development controls to come under a single approval process.”
Also under the Bill, projects funded through the Nation Building and Jobs Plan stimulus package would be exempt from planning approval, helping ensure the State met Federal Government timelines and did not lose any of its funding entitlements.
Other proposed changes include:
· a mechanism for local planning schemes to be updated to implement State planning policies, providing guidance on important planning issues
· a requirement for local governments to report on decisions made under their local planning scheme, to monitor the effectiveness of reforms to the approvals process and identify issues with existing mechanisms.
The proposals are contained in Approvals and Related Reforms (No 4) (Planning) Bill 2009, which would amend the Planning and Development Act 2005.
Minister's office - 9213 6600