The City of Perth has lashed out at the Development Assessment Panel system, saying it creates, rather than reduces, red tape in the planning approvals process.
DAPs have been in place since May 2011, established as part of the state government’s efforts to streamline the approvals process.
Under the regime, applications exceeding $15 million within the City of Perth are automatically sent to a DAP for assessment, while the threshold is $7 million in other local government areas.
City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said there were 17 applications determined by the central metropolitan DAP in 2012-13, with the length of time taken to determine the applications ranging from 74 days to 120 days.
When the DAPs were introduced, a maximum 90-day target was touted for development assessment.
Ms Scaffidi said the panels also endorsed the council's recommendations in all instances, with only minor modifications to the wording of some conditions.
“It is evident from this assessment that the DAP process has not added any value, efficiencies or effectiveness to the development application assessment process in the city," Ms Scaffidi said.
“Instead, it has added costs, complexities and administrative burdens to outcomes that are likely to have been arrived at by the council within similar timeframes.
"It also needs to be borne in mind that it is the city's planning staff who do the work of preparing reports to the DAP, so there is no benefit in terms of reduced workload."
Ms Scaffidi also called for the $15 million threshold to be raised or scrapped altogether, while also proposing developers be given a choice to have their applications heard by a DAP or the council.
“The main focus of DAPs is said to be in determining applications that are considered to be ‘significant or complex’,” she said.
“However, establishing mandatory dollar value thresholds based on arbitrary values of development is not a satisfactory way to determine whether a development proposal is significant or complex.
“The council believes the mandatory threshold for the city is too low in the context of inner city development and that it should be raised to $100 million if thresholds are to remain.”
Ms Scaffidi's call echoes sentiments shared by Town of Cambridge Mayor Simon Withers in March this year.
Mr Withers said the panels would be improved if developers could choose to use them or local councils.
At the time, Mr Withers said putting a development through a council was far superior to assessment by a DAP.