Over 450 people attended our Industry Lunch looking at Infill Dreams and Market Realities that included a keynote speech from Minister for Transport, Planning and Ports, the Hon. Rita Saffioti and a panel session that sparked an intriguing debate into the future of development in Perth and Peel.

During the minister’s speech she welcomed UDIA WA’s new housing supply report and noted that a number of the key themes within the report were aligned with items the government are looking to tackle through its continuing planning reform journey.

Ms Saffioti said the government was able to reform the planning system to some extent in their first term with the development of the State Development Assessment Unit and streamlining the number of DAP panels, however they are looking to go further in the second term.

“We need a planning system that better addresses the challenges into the future,” Ms Saffioti.

Ms Saffioti is looking to make the planning process simpler and easier to understand as she said the current system is very difficult to navigate, especially if you’re not involved with it on a regular basis.

She said this was partly behind the decision to involve the community in the current consultation process.

“We want community to be involved so they can let us know whether they want density or public open space, essentially what they want in these revitalized suburbs,” she said.

“Local planning strategies are the way to get early community involved. By the time we get to DA stage, many people have missed the opportunity and don’t understand what is allowed to be developed so it is really about trying to engage community earlier.

“I want to local planning policies to be simpler, clearer and cover a range of issues.”

One area Ms Saffioti is keen to hear feedback on is around the creation of structure plans and whether there is a better way of developing them, in particular in areas where a lot of land owners are involved.

She noted that a coordinated process for developing structure plans may be something to consider in the future to create a fairer system that allows all developers to be part of the process.

Another area to potentially benefit from a coordinated process is infrastructure contributions and the way developer contributions are processed.

“It is about making sure people have confidence and certainty in that process,” she said.

Ms Saffioti also used her speech to showcase the new METRONET Station Precinct Gateway, a new ‘one-stop-shop’ designed to allow everyone to understand what is happening and being proposed across METRONET and the rail system.

“This is a portal to allow everyone to understand where government is investing in infrastructure, where things are at in the existing planning system and who is in charge of particular aspects,” she said.

“This system will be live in 6-8 weeks and it will help guide investment decisions and discussions with government about infill and how we can support and activate our new METRONET precincts.”

A panel session featuring Jane Bennet, Col Dutton, Tanya Trevisan, Joanne Abbiss as well as the Minister took place followed the keynote address and provided an excellent opportunity for a wide ranging debate on the future development of the Perth and Peel region.

The panel was facilitated by UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck who asked each panel member to provide their own view on how we deliver housing choice in the Perth and Peel region before taking questions from sli.do wherein more than 40 questions were submitted to be asked of the panel.

Although not all questions were asked, UDIA WA will be looking into the questions with detail as we continue to engage and collaborate with the government on how we deliver housing choice into the future.