01/10/2009 - 00:00

Industry support for reform plans

01/10/2009 - 00:00

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THE property development sector has strongly endorsed the state government's planning reform agenda, which was released last week by the Planning Minister John Day.

Industry support for reform plans

THE property development sector has strongly endorsed the state government's planning reform agenda, which was released last week by the Planning Minister John Day.


'Planning Makes it Happen - a Blueprint for Planning Reform', identified 11 strategic priorities and 22 actions to improve the planning process over the next two years.


Mr Day said key strategic priorities included major project facilitation, urban land supply and infrastructure coordination, development assessment panels, and the establishment of regional planning committees.


Another key priority of the document was to eliminate the requirement for environmental assessments to be approved by both the Environmental Protection Authority and the Western Australian Planning Commission.


The blueprint said a memorandum of understanding between the EPA, WAPC and the Department of Planning would be prioritised to encourage a collaborative approach to assessment and approvals, and to achieve timely approvals decisions.


"The aim is to have a planning system where decisions can be made in a timely manner and to ensure that we've got a planning system that actually responds to community needs," Mr Day told WA Business News.


"That is, to ensure there is adequate residential land and other land supplies available for the future growth of the state."


Property Council of Australia WA chief executive Joe Lenzo said the blueprint was the best set of planning reforms for the past 20 years.


"The most important thing is that, for the first time in more than a decade, we've got some reforms that actually go to the heart of the problem, the fact that its takes so long to get approvals, through both state and local governments," he said.


"We certainly don't want to get into the situation where it's going to take a year or two to get land on the market.


"We hope that these reforms are going to change all of that."


West Perth-based property developer Cedar Woods' managing director, Paul Sadleir, said it had been widely recognised in the development sector that planning processes had become bogged down.


He said there was some industry concern with the short implementation of public submission periods.


"The Western Australian Planning Commission and the Department of Planning have got some fairly short timeframes on various reviews, so while we welcome the review process, there are some people in the industry with concerns that not everything will be properly assessed and dealt with," Mr Sadleir said.


"Yes we're keen to see reform, but we just hope that all the issues that come out of the reform process can be properly dealt with and that we don't end up with some unresolved things in the implementation phase."


Mr Day said the proposed changes to the planning system would take some time to implement.


"I think they will help, but some of the changes are going to take probably 12 months or more to actually have an effect in relation to land supply, so this is only part of what we need to address," he said.

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