Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Council rejects proposed changes to planning system

Last week, Council voted against the State Government’s proposed changes to WA’s Development Assessment Panel (DAP) system.

DAPs are decision making bodies comprised of three professional panel members and two local elected members who are responsible for determining significant development applications.

The proposed changes include reducing the number of DAPs from five to three and creating a special matters DAP to consider matters of state and regional importance or certain types of applications in precincts of state or regional importance.

At its meeting last Tuesday, Council voted to not support the proposal as it had a number of concerns, particularly in regard to the creation of a special matters DAP.

It is considered that local governments are best placed to assess significant development proposals against the local planning framework which was developed with the local community.

There were also concerns raised regarding:
  • the potential for insufficient engagement with residents
  • centralisation of planning control to the State Government, resulting in the decline of local government involvement in significant planning proposals and representation of local communities, and inadequate transparency to the community
  • the omission of local government elected members in special matters DAPs.
Council would like to see a holistic review of the DAP system to help restore community input and influence over development in land within their district, including having greater local government representation on DAPs. This would extend to the ability for third parties to appeal DAP determinations.

Council would also like to see a heritage expert be included in the pool of members on the special matters DAP.
In the event that the State Government does not carry out further consultation and consider amendments to address the City’s concerns, a range of recommendations will be provided to improve the proposed amendments to the DAP system.

For more, see the full Council Meeting agenda and minutes.
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