13/11/2007 - 22:00

State gets a pass mark for planning

13/11/2007 - 22:00

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Australia’s planning profession has given the Western Australian planning system, and those of most other states and the ACT, a ‘C’ rating in the Planning Institute of Australia’s annual report released last week.

State gets a pass mark for planning

Australia’s planning profession has given the Western Australian planning system, and those of most other states and the ACT, a ‘C’ rating in the Planning Institute of Australia’s annual report released last week.

The report was compiled from a survey of more than 740 planning professionals, which assessed criteria including growth management, sustainability, infrastructure, housing, workforce planning, urban design, and assessment processes.

The overall rating for every state (and the ACT) was ‘C’, except for NSW and Tasmania, which were given an overall rating of D+.
WA stood out in two areas; it was judged to be the top state for public transport planning, and for public participation in the planning process.

About 60 per cent of respondents gave WA a score of A or B for transport planning, putting the state 25 per cent ahead of the next closest state, Queensland.

WA’s score of B- for planning and public participation was the highest rating achieved for any criteria.

But WA fell short with regard to housing affordability, workforce planning and climate change, with scores of D+.

Town planner and PIA (WA) president Mathew Selby told WA Business News the industry would like the government to perform better, and the overall C rating left plenty of room for improvement.

The industry was concerned that the planning system lacked a comprehensive policy on climate change, particularly one that addressed the impact of sea-level rise on sensitive coastal areas and public infrastructure, Mr Selby said.

But the lack of a workforce planning strategy was currently having the most impact on the industry.

“The development industry is getting a lot of attention from planners at the moment because developers are able to pay well. The state government has really fallen behind with wages and conditions, particularly conditions,” Mr Selby said.

Mr Selby believed the state government had the financial base to initiate better planning strategies, but lacked the resource base to do so.

Government planners are understood to be under enormous pressure to perform, which was creating a backlog of work, and frustrations within the development industry.

The PIA (WA) has previously suggested the government outsource smaller, less critical duties to the private sector or local government to free-up experienced government planners for more strategic projects.

To this end, the national body introduced a Certified Practicing Planner Qualification last year to improve the professional standing of planners with a recognisable stamp of quality.

“The government is not utilising what we introduced…the planning system as it stands, makes it hard to relinquish control to local governments or the private sector,” Mr Selby said.

Reform of the planning system was needed to reduce planning bottlenecks and get more land on to the market, he said.

The issue of housing affordability was complicated, he said, but a more coordinated approach to planning approvals between departments would help streamline the process for all stakeholders.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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