WA Green Paper outlines proposed overhaul of planning system

The Western Australian Government has released its Green Paper into the independent review of Western Australia's planning system for public comment.

Commissioned by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti and led by Evan Jones, the paper outlines the challenges for the planning system and proposes five key reform areas.

The five proposed reform areas propose a system that is strategically led, legible, transparent, efficient and delivers smart growth.

The review was initiated in response to concerns that WA's planning system is overly complex and focusses too much on individual applications for development.

“The planning system has many out-of-date and overlapping policies and guidelines. As a result, decision-makers often respond to individual development proposals, rather than setting a vision for an area to which the development industry can respond.”

Amongst the proposals included in the Green Paper are:

  • local governments be required to maintain up-to-date local planning strategies in consultation with their communities, and to review the strategy prior to a scheme amendment;

  • the Planning and Development Act be amended to make strategic planning for sustainable development the purpose of planning in Western Australia;

  • a new State Planning Policy that defines sustainable development and decision-making for sustainable outcomes be developed;

  • local governments be required to prepare a local housing strategy to show where growth will be accommodated and what types of housing are needed.

  • Consolidate State Planning Policies into a single concise framework with easy-tounderstand guidance.

  • The links between State Planning Strategy and State Planning Policies, and local planning strategies and schemes should be strengthened and made clear and understandable.

  • Define common strategic elements for the State planning framework and require all planning documents to be organised around these elements.

  • Require all local planning schemes, strategies and policies to be published in a single, easyto-navigate, standardised format, to be known as a Comprehensive Local Planning Scheme.

  • Reduce red tape for business by standardising land use permissibility for the most commonly-used zones.

  • Develop a Community Engagement Charter to require contemporary community engagement practices, with a focus on community involvement in developing the vision and strategic plans.

  • Provide reasons for decisions on planning proposals and develop a guideline for planning decision-makers.

  • Require local governments to report on their performance in undertaking planning responsibilities, including decision-making timeframes and outcomes, and the status of their local planning strategy and scheme.

  • Require Development Assessment Panels (DAP) meetings to be recorded and made available on the DAP website and require DAPs to provide reasons for all decisions.

Comment is invited on the Green Paper by July 20, with the feedback received used to inform a White Paper which will be provided to Government for consideration.

The Green Paper is available at http://www.planning.wa.gov.au/planningreform

All Rights Reserved.  Nautilus Media Group Pty Ltd