COVID-19 Planning Reforms

Amendments to the Planning and Development Act 2005 will support the State’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

Overview

The State Government has brought forward 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 will be progressively implemented to support Western Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery plans.

Information regarding the current status of each reform initiative is available below and will be regularly updated by the Reform Delivery Team. 

Media statement 

Planning and Development Act 2005

Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015

Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panel) Regulations 2011

State Planning Policies

Key Reforms

  • Focus on strategic planning
  • New process for significant projects
  • Reconcile conflicting approval processes
  • Simplify Region Scheme and State Planning Policy processes

Key Reforms

  • Cut red tape
  • Support small business
  • Deliver key planning reforms through local planning frameworks
  • Improve consultation and engagement processes

Key Reforms

  • Improve governance
  • Clarify processes
  • Ongoing ability to deal with significant projects and significant precincts
  • Greater consistency and transparency

Key Reforms

  • 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

Reform Measures

The proposed reforms will remove barriers to enable development, create and protect jobs and support business. 

They will provide: 

  • new approvals pathways for significant developments
  • streamline planning and referral processes
  • elevate the importance of local planning strategies to ensure community engagement early in the vision setting for an area
  • provide greater clarity and consistency across the system
  • reduce the administrative burden on the State’s 134 local governments, saving time and money.

Legislation

Legislative reforms to help improve our planning system, introduce robust and responsive measures and support rigorous and streamlined assessment of planning applications, will be 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 and included 35 amendments.

READ THE BILL AND EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

Part 2 of the Bill will be introduced to Parliament at a later date.

Regulation

Amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 support earlier legislative changes to the Planning and Development Act 2005 to help drive the State’s economic recover 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 to will be progressed in the near future. 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.

Policy

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 planning policies for residential design codes, activity centres, and State planning policies relating to hazards such as bushfire management and coastal erosion.
Page last reviewed 18 December 2020
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