24/06/2010 - 00:00

DAP proposal proving problematic for councils

24/06/2010 - 00:00

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PERTH’S six western suburbs councils have expressed their concerns to Premier Colin Barnett over the proposed introduction of development assessment panels.

DAP proposal proving problematic for councils

PERTH’S six western suburbs councils have expressed their concerns to Premier Colin Barnett over the proposed introduction of development assessment panels.

The panels will be responsible for assessing larger development projects and a majority of their members will be independent planning experts.

However, the Western Suburbs Regional Organisation of Councils has argued that panel members would not be held accountable to their communities, unlike locally elected members, and that the potential for conflict of interest would be considerably greater.

The council’s main concern was that the reforms did not do enough to define the professional interests of the panel members.

In a letter to Mr Barnett, the councils argued that: “the provisions are less detailed and comprehensive than those in the Local Government Act 1995, which relate to direct, indirect, financial interests and proximity interests.

“In our view, [the conflict of interest provisions] will be considerably weakened when compared to the current regime applying to local government elected members when dealing with exactly the same matters.”

WA Local Government Association president and Joondalup mayor Troy Pickard said WALGA had resolved to support the proposed panels on the condition that “regulations are developed to address identified concerns; local government is engaged to participate in the development of these regulations; and there is no cost shift to local government”.

Planning Minister John Day said the reforms were designed to improve and streamline the planning approvals process.

In a policy statement released in April, Mr Day said the panels would benefit the community as an independent decision making body.

Although the reforms have made progress through parliament, WESROC is hopeful that its concerns will still be considered as part of the regulations.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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