C1 Local planning schemes are more consistent C2(i) Approvals are quicker and easier for small business in commercial and mixed-use centres
Legislative amendments and supporting changes to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 have introduced model text, templates and forms for every local planning scheme in the State.
The next phase of reforms will consider a reduction in the number of land use classifications across local planning schemes, a consistent approach to land use permissibility in appropriate zones and a suite of consistent car parking requirements for appropriate zones.
C2(ii) Car parking requirements in commercial and mixed-use centres are consistent
Exemptions from planning approval have been introduced for certain land uses in commercial and mixed-use areas. Such proposals can now progress straight to building approval.
C3 Pre-lodgement advice facilitates better outcomes
New provisions for car parking exemptions, shortfalls and cash in lieu will come into effect from July 2021.
C4 Targeted reduction in timeframes for lower risk proposals
A pre-lodgement process is in place as part of the temporary assessment pathway for significant development applications to be determined by WAPC.
Building on the success of the temporary significant development pathway, a new, streamlined pre-lodgement model will be scoped an implemented for development applications.
Once established, a similar pre-lodgement model will be progressively implemented for other planning processes such as structure plans, scheme amendments and subdivisions.
C5 Referral processes are well defined and coordinated
Legislative amendments and supporting changes to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 have introduced Exemptions from planning approval for simple residential proposals. Such proposals can now progress straight to building approval.
The Department is identifying opportunities to trial and formalise streamlined processing of minor amendments to structure plans and activity centre plans (now known as precinct plans under State Planning Policy 7.2 – Precinct Design).
C6 Structure and precinct planning tools are fit-for-purpose
Limit to extensions of time have been introduced for referred applications, providing clarity for the community on proposed developments without unnecessary delays.
The ability to centrally coordinate referrals for significant and complex development applications through the special COVID-19 assessment pathway has delivered key benefits for both Government and applicants and should be expanded to centralise responsibility for referral and follow-up.
Explore models to establish a central referral process across government agencies, utilities and departments to improve consistency of approach and decision-making in consideration of related development matters such as heritage, environment and traffic.
C7 Development assessment processes are streamlined and outcomes-focussed
The new State Planning Policy 7.2 – Precinct Design to guide development around precincts including METRONET stations became operational in February 2021.
Structure plan and precinct plan processes have been regulated across all local governments.
C8 DAP processes are more consistent and transparent
Through a Development Assessment and Consultation working group – involving industry, local government and the private sector – a number of changes were scoped and tested, resulting in the following process improvements.
- limit of one further information request for simple development proposals
- mechanism to pause statutory timeframe when additional information is requested; and
- voluntary deemed-to-comply check for single house applications in Perth metropolitan and Peel region scheme areas.
C9 The WAPC is more efficient and strategically-focussed
Changes to reduce the number of Development Assessment Panels from nine to five came into effect in April 2020.
This key structural change is an interim step toward the goal of moving to a system with no more than three panels. It provides an opportunity maintain a level of panel member continuity while implementing this significant change, and other DAP improvements.
A range of other initiatives that have been undertaken or are being rolled out include:
- new reporting templates and guidelines for clear, concise and consistent information
- introduced electronic meeting options to provide more flexibility for public attendance
- published more supporting information for greater transparency of decision-making.
Changes to the Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panels) Regulations 2011 are currently being scoped to further reduce the number of panels to three (3) and appoint permanent panel members and create a new Special Matters DAP to consider complex development proposals.
Draft Regulations for the changes proposed to the DAP system will be available for consultation in the coming months at https://consultation.dplh.wa.gov.au.
C10 Planning activity data drive system improvements
WAPC meeting agendas and minutes, and selected complete officer reports, are now published online.
New arrangements are also in place to ensure proponents and key stakeholders are notified in advance of the details of the WAPC or SPC meeting at which the matters of interest to them will be considered.
A Key Matters Coversheet has also been introduced to provide high-level information on confidential statutory planning proposals.
Early workshops have been held with stakeholders to develop the framework for collection, analysis and publication of planning activity data.