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National planning forum seeking local comment

SEVEN years after a Federal Government report into small business recommended regulatory reform of Australia’s planning and development processes, a planning model has been released for public comment.

The Centre for Developing Cities in Canberra drafted the planning model by looking at development practice in Australia and the rest of the world. The report and model were commissioned by the Development Assessment Forum, which emerged from the Federal Government’s 1997 report into small business, chaired by McDonald’s CEO Charlie Bell.

A meeting was subsequently held with the three levels of government, industry groups and major professions in Adelaide in June 1998.

Stakeholders at the meeting developed a partnership, which in turn led to the formation of the Development Assessment Forum.

“The consultation aims to foster constructive discussion across all stakeholders [local government, State government, professions and trades and interested community groups] about the draft model DA through information sessions, focus groups, surveys and written submissions,” forum chairman Peter Verwer said.

Issues arising from the national consultation process will be considered by the development assessment forum, which will make recommendations to State ministers. The States and Territories can then choose to adopt some, or all, of the recommendations to suit their needs.

“It is up to each jurisdiction to decide if they agree with the recommendations. We are just suggesting that they use the same principles and head in the same direction,” Mr Verwer said.

“There are two possible controversies within the CDC model. The first being that it is recommended that there be a separation between the role of rule makers and rule assessors in planning.  The second is that the rights of third parties be defined.”

There is currently no third party involvement in the process in Western Australia.

A Melbourne based consultancy firm will be taking the model to all capital cities, including Perth on May 13.

Planners and industry players in WA also have the opportunity to comment on a State Green Bill for the consolidation of the planning legislation into the Planning and Development Bill and Planning and Development (Consequential Provisions) Bill, which was released last week.

The bill is an amendment to that originally proposed in 2000 by the Court Government.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the draft bill consolidated planning legislation into one simple, easy-to-read act.  “Currently, the planning legislation in WA is based on three primary acts – the WA Planning Commission Act 1985, the Metropolitan Region Town Planning Scheme Act 1959 and the Town Planning and Development Act 1928,” she said.

Key features of which include: the introduction of State sustainability principles; improved co-ordination of local and regional planning; and the provision of greater consistency, fairness, equity and certainty to stakeholders.

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