Tribunal reveals "planning nightmare"

The State Administrative Tribunal has highlighted deep-seated problems in the state's planning process in a ruling on the University of Western Australia's contentious Shenton Park development proposal.


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Reads like normal Government to me.

Shenton Park
SAT is wrong in describing planning laws as a nightmare, it is the development assessment process that beggars belief and is the real nightmare. WA has good planners and good planning outcomes reflected in good policies but there is no legal nexus, in WA, between this planning and development approvals. UWA has sought to maximise development on land it owns in breach of planning and environmental policy, in the knowledge that once it obtains an approval, that approval is prohibited by the WA legal framework from being overturned, even if it is in breach of planning and environmental policy purported to control development. So everytime UWA looks like not getting an approval, it withdraws for fear of receiving a refusal that will then have to be analysed on appeal in SAT. UWA brought an application for review to SAT (if it is as reported by your journalist) where its legal advice must have been that there was no jurisdiction to do so, because I was involved in litigation in SAT that decided that exact legal point. This action would have put great pressure on the Council and high costs which the Council cannot recover from UWA. UWA wants an approval but not a refusal. If UWA made a formal development application and allowed it to go through the process, they may well be refused and they will have to appeal a refusal and then SAT will adjudicate on the many policy grounds that support a refusal. UWA are trying to juggle an approval, which they know can never be overturned no matter who is impacted and what planning policy is breached. That's the law our politicians have passed and endorsed - development approvals are safe from appeal because an appeal in SAT against a development approval is prohibited by law, even if it is corruptly obtained and is in breach of every planning policy that governs development of the relevant land. UWA knows that and so do their lobbyists, their lawyers and their planners - that is why there is a debacle. It is not the development assessment system - its the absence of third party planning approval appeal rights that makes our system a nightmare. Put third party appeal rights into the system and these nightmares will stop overnight!

This case highlights the fact that the planning system in this state is a complete and utter joke at the moment and needs to be fixed as a matter of priority. As a professional in this field I see this sort of thing every working day. I'm surpised that SAT has used this case to highlight the problems that have been prevalent for some time now. I'm sure it has been privy to many other similar cases of sheer bureaucratic bloody mindedness. Let's hope that DPI's current review of our planning system sorts this mess out. I'm not counting on it but.

After looking up Kafkaesque ( I am quite impressed there is a word to describe the multiple (and often pointless) layers of bureaucracy we have the good fortune of experiencing in this state. I think this one is going to slip into a few more people’s vocabulary in the future.

Lets not lose sight of the plight of urban bushland and the destruction to date of up to 80% of the natural ecosystems of the Swan Coastal Plain. Developers - UWA or otherwise - get use to it. You can no longer target bushland just because it is there. The sooner there is an end to clearing of bushland on the SCP the better. As for SAT... Sandy Boulter is 'on-the-money'

The State Government has intervened in a number of areas to ensure that an orderly and beneficial outcome can be acheived. Imagine what East Parth, Subiaco or Armadale would look like if the redevelopment process was left to the limited resources (and perhaps parochialism) of local government. The UWA land would benefit from a single authority with the legislation behind it to deal with all of the issues. Lets not forget that the land is already zoned to allow for development, so the argument has moved on from IF the land should be developed to HOW the land should be developed in a manner that meets 'good planning' principles and the TRIPLE bottom line (i.e. not just the environmental bit of the TBL).

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