FAQs: Initiative C8 - Development Assessment Panels

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about changes to Development Assessment Panels (DAPs).

What are Development Assessment Panels (DAPs)?

DAPs were introduced into the WA planning system in July 2011 and are decision-making panels that are intended to enhance planning expertise in decision-making by improving the balance between technical advice and local knowledge. The role of DAP members is to determine development applications within a certain type and value threshold through consistent, accountable, and professional decision-making.

Under the Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panels) Regulations 2011, each DAP determines development applications that meet set type and value thresholds, under the relevant planning instrument, such as the local planning scheme or region planning scheme. The DAP regulations state that DAP applications cannot be determined by local government or the WAPC.

More information about current DAP arrangements is available on our website.

Why have the DAP boundaries changed?

Changes to the DAP boundaries mark a significant step in implementation of Action Plan for Planning Reform initiatives to improve consistency and transparency within Western Australia’s Development Assessment Panel system.

A key action identified in the plan is to reduce the number of panels to no more than three. As an interim measure, the number of panels are being reduced from nine to five.

What are the new DAP boundaries?

The new five-panel configuration comprises:

  • The existing City of Perth Local Development Assessment Panel (LDAP) remains unchanged.
  • A new Metro Inner-North Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) comprising the previous Metro West JDAP and including the City of Stirling, City of Bayswater and Town of Bassendean.
  • A new Metro Inner-South JDAP comprising the previous Metro Central JDAP (except City of Bayswater and Town of Bassendean), and including the City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle. 
  • A Metro Outer JDAP comprising the previous Metro East JDAP, Metro North-West JDAP and Metro South-West JDAP (excluding the City of Stirling, City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle). 
  • One Regional JDAP comprising the previous Mid-West/Wheatbelt JDAP, Kimberley/Pilbara/Gascoyne JDAP and Southern JDAP.
When do the new boundaries come into effect?

​The five-panel structure is effective from Monday, 27 April 2020.

How does this affect current DAP applications?

Any existing DAP applications that have not been determined prior to 27 April 2020 will be considered by the relevant panel under the revised structure.

Are there any changes to DAP memberships?

There are no changes to the number of members on each DAP. Each panel will continue to consist of five members – three specialist members with technical expertise and two local government Councillors with knowledge of the local the area in which the application is being considered.

Specialist members have been permanently appointed to panels for a two-year term, allowing sufficient time for legislative amendments to achieve a three-panel configuration.

How do these changes affect the role of local government in the DAP process?

Local government membership will not change as a result of reducing the number of panels.

What are the benefits of the proposed changes to DAPs?

A streamlined DAP structure will assist in improving the consistency of DAP procedures and decisions and address community concerns regarding perceived conflicts of interest, while retaining the benefits of the DAP system in considering proposals in a timely and independent manner with a balance between technical advice and local knowledge.

Will there be any future changes to the DAP boundaries? 

The Action Plan for Planning Reform outlines an ultimate final model of no more than three Development Assessment Panels for Western Australia. 

What other reforms or improvements are happening with DAPs?

Improved Development Assessment Panel (DAP) reporting processes and templates are being implemented to promote greater transparency, efficiency and consistency of decision-making.

A number of procedural and practice changes were previously adopted to improve the consistency and transparency of DAP procedures, including the release of all DAP applications on the PlanWA online map and more information being made publicly available – including presentation details and advice provided to panels.

The Department is also focusing on improving community engagement with the DAP process, and encouraging community members to have their say on development proposals. New public information materials will be made available in the coming months.

For updates on DAPs and other initiatives, please visit our Action Plan for Planning Reform implementation page.

How will this restructure affect DAP meetings?

DAP meetings are scheduled up until the change takes effect under the existing model, and will reconvene after the 27 April 2020 under the new five panels.

The DAP Secretariat will continue to work with local governments to ensure that meetings are coordinated efficiently and effectively. Wherever possible, applications by the same local government will be scheduled together. Meetings for each panel may also be convened more frequently, with more items being considered.

Will I still be able to see proposals and make submissions on applications being considered by a DAP?

Yes. The Department regularly updates its website with a list of current DAP applications. The existing requirements for notification, advertising and consultation of development applications have not changed.

Action Plan Initiatives C7 and B2 seek to standardise consultation and development application processes more generally and changes associated with these initiatives may be incorporated into the DAP system in the future where appropriate.

Are meetings still being held during the COVID-19 pandemic?

In response to COVID-19, the Department has implemented the use of electronic platforms to conduct DAP meetings, including on behalf of local governments who do not have the necessary technology.

How can community members have their say on development applications?

Opportunities to review and comment on proposals under consideration by DAPs are not affected by the reduction in panel numbers. However, while presentation requests and submissions will continue to be received in the normal way, participation at meetings may be facilitated by virtual means.

You can review the agendas of upcoming meetings to determine if there are any applications being considered of particular interest. If you would like to make a presentation, simply complete and return our Presentation Request Form.

How will the changes affect applicants?

A more streamlined DAP system is intended to deliver greater consistency in decision making.

The development application process remains largely unchanged as a result of this wider structural improvement. Applications should still be lodged with local government and need to meet eligibility criteria to be considered by a DAP.

Page last reviewed 13 August 2019
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