The Property Council’s submission to the State Government on its plan to introduce independent Development Assessment Panels to determine development applications included strong endorsement for the proposal. This reform represents the most significant advance in WA’s planning system in many decades.
The Property Council consulted widely in development sector, including all of the major developers and property owners that will be affected by the introduction of Development Assessment Panels. The Property Council found there was overwhelming support for the reform.
The Property Council’s submission concluded that the introduction of Development Assessment Panels would achieve three key outcomes, including:
- the promotion of systemic change in the development assessment process resulting in the clear separation between policy making and individual development assessment determinations in local government authorities;
- a fundamental improvement in the governance surrounding the development assessment process such that the assessment and determination of development applications will be handled consistently, reliably and transparently across different local authorities; and
- an improvement in the time taken to process a development application.
The Property Council endorsed the classes of developments to be determined by Development Assessment Panels, including:
- all commercial, retail and industrial applications;
- all grouped dwelling or multiple dwelling applications of over 10 dwellings;
The Property Council also endorsed the proposed composition of Development Assessment Panels, including:
- the Chairperson (a specialist member nominated by the minister);
- two local government representatives from the relevant local government; and
- two specialist members nominated by the Minister.
The specialist members should also be selected for their relevant expertise in the development assessment determination process as outlined in Implementing Development Assessment Panels in Western Australia.
The Property Council carefully reviewed the structural elements of Implementing Development Assessment Panels in Western Australia several recommendations to ensure the final policy position is most effective, including:
Recommendation 1: Increase the mandatory threshold for development applications to the Local Development Assessment Panel covering the City of Perth to $10 million; however a development applicant must have the option to have an application between $2 million and $10 million determined by the Local Development Assessment Panel. The applicant will have sole discretion to send a development application to the Local Development Assessment Panel between $2 million and $10 million.
Recommendation 2: Increase the mandatory threshold for development applications to a Joint Development Assessment Panel to $5 million; however a development applicant must have the option to have an application between $2 million and $5 million determined by the Local Development Assessment Panel. The applicant will have sole discretion to send a development application to a Joint Development Assessment Panel between $2 million and $5 million.
Recommendation 3: Create a new higher threshold for major regional centres, including the cities of Bunbury, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie. The thresholds for these centres should be commensurate with Recommendation 2.
Recommendation 4: Strengthen the statutory timeline of 60 days for local authorities to assess a development application by early clearance of a development application for assessment, timely notification to the Development Assessment Panel of receipt of an application, public reporting of delays in completing assessments and permitting the Minister to intervene if delays are not acceptable.
Click on attachment to download the Property Council of Australia submission