- Notice issued for local planning exemptions to support COVID-19 response
- New State of Emergency powers exercised by Planning Minister
- Greater flexibility provides quick response to changing environment
Planning Minister Rita Saffioti today released a range of exemptions to local planning requirements under new State of Emergency powers.
Last week, amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015, came into effect providing the Minister with authority to temporarily override requirements and conditions set out in local planning schemes, and existing conditions in planning approvals.
A Notice of Exemption has now been issued providing a blanket two-year extension to be granted for all current development approvals to assist job-creating projects during the recovery stage.
The Notice of Exemption also identifies other matters which no longer require planning approval across a number of essential local community services, including:
- medical or health-related facilities required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- truck and logistic companies needing to deliver goods but currently with restricted loading and unloading times;
- businesses seeking to adapt by changing their current approved use;
- restaurants and cafes required to sell takeaway in contravention of current planning conditions;
- people operating their businesses from residential zones;
- the parking of commercial vehicles on residential properties;
- businesses needing to change signage; and
- provision of temporary workers' accommodation.
The Notice also temporarily waives any requirement to provide up to 10 car bays and/or cash in lieu for non-residential development, and allows local government authorities to advertise planning proposals solely on their websites.
These exemptions are in place for temporary situations only, so brick-and-mortar applications are not included and the usual approvals will need to be sought in most instances within 90 days of the lifting of the State of Emergency.
The exemptions apply to individual proponents and local government across Western Australia.
The State Government has consulted with key stakeholders, including WALGA, to implement the exemptions announced today.
Further information on planning exemptions can be found at the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website: https://www.dplh.wa.gov.au/notice-of-exemptions
Comments attributed to Planning Minister Rita Saffioti:
"The planning system must be able to respond quickly and efficiently to the effects of COVID-19, in particular removing barriers so businesses and local governments can adapt as easily as possible.
"These exemptions give greater flexibility, speed and co-ordination across the planning and development system. It is a common-sense approach to enable State and Local Government to respond immediately to changing circumstances and ensure that essential services are not held up by unnecessary rules and regulations.
"It also ensures restaurants and cafes can easily change their businesses to takeaway only and not be deemed illegal under the planning scheme. This provides them the best possible opportunity to trade through this COVID-19 period.
"We're also working to help businesses evolve wherever possible to new ways of operating, keep people in jobs and facilitate further economic activity.
"I will consider further exemptions as the need arises."
Minister's office - 6552 5500