State unveils planning system overhaul

24/09/2009 - 14:37


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Planning Minister John Day has today released the government's planning reform agenda including the integration of environmental and planning approvals and appeals.

State unveils planning system overhaul

Planning Minister John Day has today released the government's planning reform agenda including the integration of environmental and planning approvals and appeals.

The state branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia has welcomed the government's blueprint for planning reform.

The recently announced expert panels that will take over responsibility from local governments in assessing and approving larger land development applications and planning committees for several regions in WA form part of the reform agenda,



The government, UDIA and the Property Council announcements are below:



The most comprehensive and strategic reform agenda ever undertaken of the Western Australian planning framework was today released by Planning Minister John Day.

'Planning Makes It Happen - a Blueprint for Planning Reform' sets out the strategic priorities and a forward work program covering a wide range of planning initiatives designed to improve the WA planning system.

Mr Day said the blueprint identified 11 strategic priorities and a further 22 actions within a forward work program for the next two years.

Key strategic priorities include major project facilitation, urban land supply and infrastructure co-ordination, development assessment panels and the establishment of regional planning committees.

"The strategic priorities and forward work program contained within this blueprint will enable the State Government to better manage economic growth and tackle issues such as land supply, climate change and regional development," he said.

"The blueprint has been prepared following an extensive consultation process and work is already under way on a number of measures including establishing regional planning committees and preparing legislative amendments to the Planning and Development Act which will facilitate significant planning reforms."

The Minister said the general approach and key strategic priority areas set out in the consultation paper had been strongly endorsed and there was now a broad consensus and clear pathway for the tasks and priorities ahead.

"Submissions received during the consultative process indicate that stakeholders have confidence in the fundamentals of the WA model for planning, but there was also a strong message to simplify the approvals processes, cut red tape, reduce timelines and have greater certainty and accountability in the planning processes," he said.

"In addition, the State has to develop a more strategic approach to planning, especially in support of infrastructure provision and major project developments.

"To achieve these outcomes requires a broad and strategic approach, and not quick fixes that lack the capacity and flexibility to deal with a changing and complex operating environment.

"At the end of the reform period, WA will have a very efficient, flexible and outcome-focused planning system that will be considered to be national best practice and has the confidence and support of the community."



UDIA statement pasted below:

At an Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) luncheon today the Planning Minister unveiled the government's blueprint for Planning Reform.

"UDIA welcomes moves to streamline the current planning system," UDIA CEO Debra Goostrey said.

"Planning Makes it Happen: a Blueprint for Planning Reform is a promising next step following the Building a Better Planning System Review."

"UDIA has been working with the state government toward strategic reform throughout 2009 and we hope to see real change resulting from this process."

"The efficient roll out of affordable land to purchasers in WA is essential, especially considering the increase in demand that projects such as Gorgon will ignite in the coming few years," Ms Goostrey said.

Some of the key reforms include:

- The integration of planning and environmental approvals and appeals

"Currently, the dual planning and environmental approvals processes can cause delays and duplications in the path to development approval," Ms Goostrey said.

"As a first step in overcoming this, a Memorandum of Understanding between EPA, WAPC and DPI is welcomed by industry," Ms Goostrey said. "In the longer term, legislative changes to integrate the two processes would be supported."

- Integrated assessment of current and future land releases under the EPBC Act.

"It is essential that state level government agencies work with the federal government regarding assessment of developments under the federal government's EPBC Act," Ms Goostrey said.

"Over the years, dealing with the protection of species such as the Carnaby's Cockatoo and Western Ringtail Possum has been confusing and requirements ambiguous due to conflicting state and federal policies," Ms Goostrey said.

"An agreed strategic approach involving state and federal government agencies will ensure the best outcome for the protection of species such as the Carnaby's Cockatoo as well as streamline the development approvals process," Ms Goostrey said. "That would be a win for our environment and affordable land supply in WA."

- Review, reduce and simplify Model Subdivision Conditions

"To standardise and simplify model subdivision conditions is extremely important as the situation currently allows ambiguous, conflicting or duplicated conditions that are difficult to clear," Ms Goostrey says.

"The number of unnecessary conditions on subdivisions can become a 'red tape' nightmare and there are definitely ways to reduce these while still ensuring the integrity of the approvals system."

"Reducing timeframes for achieving development approvals will, at the end of the day, reduce costs for the developer and in turn for the end consumer," Ms Goostrey said. "This is imperative to the affordable roll out of land in WA."

- Development of a Vision for Perth

"Forward planning to ensure the appropriate infrastructure and services are available to accommodate increased growth in infill areas such as Perth City will be vital to achieving the state government's vision for Perth," Ms Goostrey said.

"UDIA supports the revitalisation of Perth to accommodate more residential and commercial areas and the opportunities that this provides for people living, working and recreating in and around our City."



Property Council announced pasted below:

The property development sector in Western Australia strongly endorses the State Government's blueprint for planning reform.

"There are many reforms we would like to activate immediately however the priority reforms identified by the Government today are the most important, including the establishment of development assessment panels, major project facilitation, urban land supply coordination and streamlined land supply approval processes.

"There is not a lot of time to implement these reforms because the population boom in WA will result in a repeat of the massive undersupply of housing that caused house prices to escalate sharply a few years ago.

"The planning reforms are also urgently required to enable infrastructure investment to support the important employment generating projects planned for WA.

"The Property Council is calling on the State Parliament to pass all the necessary legislation that will enable the planning reforms to be implemented quickly.

"The planning reforms should have bipartisan political support in the interests of the WA economy.

"Local governments have an important leadership role in the community and they can promote economic growth in WA by also supporting the planning reforms.

"The better processes in the planning reforms will actually assist local governments in delivering better services to families and the business sector", said Mr Lenzo.


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