The State Government accelerated a number of measures within the Action Plan for Planning Reform as part of COVID-19 economic recovery plans, together with a proposal to establish a new development application process for significant projects.
A program of major legislative, regulatory and policy changes were implemented to create a more robust planning system and support Western Australia’s economic recovery.
The reform initiatives implemented are detailed below.
Planning and Development Act 2005
Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015
Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panel) Regulations 2011
State Planning Policies
- Focus on strategic planning
- New process for significant projects
- Reconcile conflicting approval processes
- Simplify Region Scheme and State Planning Policy processes
- Cut red tape
- Support small business
- Deliver key planning reforms through local planning frameworks
- Improve consultation and engagement processes
- Improve governance
- Clarify processes
- Ongoing ability to deal with significant projects and significant precincts
- Greater consistency and transparency
- Finalise Precinct Design policy
- Finalise Medium Density policy
- Review of R Codes Volume 1 (residential)1
- Bring forward reviews of policies guiding Activity Centres and Liveable Neighbourhoods
These reforms have removed barriers to enable development, created and protected jobs and supported business, and include:
- a temporary, new approvals pathways for significant developments
- streamlined planning and referral processes
- greater clarity and consistency across the planning system
- improved transparency
- reductions in red tape.
A first tranche of legislative reforms to help improve our planning system, introduce robust and responsive measures and support rigorous and streamlined assessment of planning applications, were addressed through amendments to the Planning and Development Act 2005, and changes to some subsidiary legislation.
Due to its volume and complexity, and the urgent need for reforms to support economic recovery from COVID-19, these changes will be undertaken in several tranches. The first tranche received Royal Assent on 7 July 2020.
Media statement - Historic planning reforms cut red tape and open WA for business
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Consultation is currently open on a number of proposed reforms that will continue and expand on the planning reform program.
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Amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 support legislative changes an enact many of the efficiencies and red tape reduction measures to support the State’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information visit the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 page.
Development Assessment Panels
Changes to the Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panel) Regulations 2011 are currently being scoped. These changes will create a new Special Matters Development Assessment Panel, further reduce the number of geographic panels from the current five-panel configuration to no more than three, and provide for greater transparency and consistency in the DAP system.
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.
A new State planning policy to guide development around precincts including METRONET stations was enacted in February 2021. A review of the Residential Design Codes has also been completed.
In parallel with the legislative and regulatory reforms, the Department will continue to progress the:
- development of new, draft Design WA policies for medium density and liveable neighbourhoods; and
- review of State planning policies relating to hazards such as bushfire management and coastal erosion.