Environment

Context

The health and wellbeing of our environment is central to the health and wellbeing of our community.

The development industry has the potential to make a significant contribution to how we future-proof communities and adapt to a changing environment. It is imperative that industry and
government work collaboratively to lead in this area to ensure that urban development delivers positive environmental outcomes.

Whilst it is important to have a robust environmental approval framework, the current approval process is complex, inefficient and often contradictory. Overlap and duplication exists between planning and environmental legislation and between Commonwealth, State and local government. Meanwhile, narrow and competing objectives between different Government agencies together with a reluctance to embrace innovative solutions frequently results in sub-optimal environmental outcomes. As a result, opportunities for increasing the use of recycled materials, or using our water resources more efficiently, for example, are often missed.

Land identified for development purposes is becoming increasingly constrained by environmental challenges. Within the Perth and Peel Regions the number of “Matter of National environmental Significance’ (MNES) listings have doubled since 2000 adding further complexity to the process. This together with the absence of strategic assessment or a single environmental approval body, has added to delays and gives rise to uncertainty, significantly adding to the cost of providing new homes.

To deliver improved environment and development outcomes, and to mitigate effectively the impacts of climate change, an efficient, modern and strategic focused environmental assessment process is needed.

UDIA Recommends

Five Key Priorities – Environment

  • Cut unnecessary green tape
    • The establishment of a framework and clear guidance regarding the assessment of cumulative impacts on the Swan Coastal Plain
    • That the Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act delivers a streamlined, single assessment process
    • Urgent attention is paid to establishing a cohesive and integrated approach to planning & environmental approvals
  • Proceed with the SAPPR
    • The Government commit to the establishment of a Strategic Assessment for the Perth and Peel Region and continue to engage with the development industry to ensure that its application is practical and effectively delivers its intent
    • An independent audit of scope and costs are undertaken, appropriate transitional provisions are developed and as far as possible, no further environmental approvals are required for vegetated areas
  • Adapt urban policy for a changing climate
    • The development of a clear and consistent State climate change policy, that provides clarity for private and public sector investment and ensures the State can benefit from the emerging climate change opportunities and help to further diversify our economy
    • That the bushfire planning framework delivers practical outcomes that fully balance all relevant environmental considerations and objectives
    • The establishment of a clear, consistent, evidence-based approach to the management of coastal hazards
  • Maximise the use of our water resources
    • Government to champion alternative water schemes for the irrigation of the public realm and public open space, including but not limited to recycled waste water, water from surface and sub-soil drainage and stormwater harvesting
    • Complete the Review of the IPWEA Local Government Guidelines for Subdivisional Development to ensure that they deliver consistent and positive development outcomes
  • Support sustainable construction practices
    • Ensuring that the housing construction standards provide for affordable and energy efficient homes
    • Adopting a policy framework that incentivises the use of recycled material for construction purposes