Planning reform troubleshooter Evan Jones is calling time on game playing and finger-pointing in WA’s complex, convoluted and inefficient planning system.

Mr Jones, called into service by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti to lead a team charged with fixing the State’s messy planning regime, last week implored 450 council, developer and property attendees at an Urban Development Institute of Australia WA function to contribute their ideas and potential fixes.

“It can be very confusing for developers, very confusing for the community and I have to say incredibly confusing and frustrating for local government councillors and officers,” he said. “Clearly we need our planning schemes updated and aligned with a strategic planning framework.”

Mr Jones said change should be underpinned by fairness, with “goods distributed equitably”, transparency in decision making with reasons given, integrity, ensuring the system is trusted and efficiency, with outcomes delivered effectively as possible.

In WA, a State with 138 local governments, there are 146 planning schemes, 1065 business zones and 1365 special use zones explained in 13,091 pages.

“Local governments have the right absolutely to look at the context and character of their own communities but the level of variation is not justified,” he said, adding that many planning policies had no rhyme or reason and were riddled with inconsistency.

One person wrote to him asking why as an expert they could not divine – after wading through 730 pages – whether a development application would have any chance of success.

Mr Evans said WA needed to adopt to a strategic-led planning system, deliver clarity on State and local government roles and open up the system for community consultation within the strategic planning process.

It needed a plan-led system “that is legible”. “You have got a plan, you know what’s in there, how to use it. The community knows what’s in there,” he said.

“In the efficient planning system, if we have got State policies ticked off and local planning . . .(and a development proposed that is in the zone it is zoned for) we should be in the no-risk zone. It may be there are impacts (but these can be dealt with).

“There are clear ways through a lot of this. So if you have ideas, we want to hear about it.”

UDIA chief executive Allison Hailes said an improved planning system would deliver projects efficiently and benefit consumers, who pay more for land and housing because of the added cost of delays.

“The system does not encourage innovation and the Perth region deserves better,” she said.