The Premier’s announcement today of a major reshuffle of Director General’s (DG’s) across a range of government departments has been welcomed by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA) as an opportunity to progress major reform that will benefit economic growth.

Several of the retiring or transferring DGs are currently leading departments that directly impact the property industry in WA including the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage; the Department of Environment and Water; the Department of Communities and the Department of Local Government.

“While Gail McGowan, Mike Rowe, Michelle Andrews and Duncan Ord have all contributed greatly to their respective departments over many years, this is an opportunity to put fresh eyes and a new determination to reinvigorate reform agendas in key areas including streamlining the planning system, fixing the environmental approvals system and local government reform,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said.

“It is critical for all stakeholders that interact with the public sector that a collaborative regulatory culture is created to eliminate silos, expedite decision making and reduce duplicative processes,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“I know industry stakeholders, and I personally, have a lot of respect for the leaders that are leaving,” Ms Steinbeck said.  “Gail McGowan in particular has taken a very collaborative approach over the years and she has overseen significant improvement and change within her department.”

“However, we still have a long way to go,” Ms Steinbeck said. “UDIA has continually made recommendations around the need for further reform in planning, environment and local government.”

“Most recently as part of our ‘Road to Recovery’ responding to COVID-19, in our recent State Election Campaign and in our 2021 Policy Priorities we specifically looked at opportunities to streamline systems in order to allow the property industry to play it’s important role in creating jobs and growth.”

“The less unnecessary delays and red tape that we have to navigate, the more efficiently industry can support economic development,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“In relation to the planning portfolio, Minister Saffioti committed to a reform agenda several years ago, and with a new look Cabinet and a shake up in public sector leadership – now is the time to be bold and make a real step change for better outcomes,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“In terms of the environmental approvals process, we have been calling for the delivery of a strategic assessment framework for Perth and Peel for several years and we are still waiting,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“Whilst we have seen some progress in terms of a bilateral agreement, there is still a lot of work to be done to resolve the uncertainty and duplication between the Commonwealth and the State,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“As for local government, of course there are those LGAs that are performing well, but we all know there is a dire need for consistency and accountability across the board in this area,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“Today’s announcement is a significant step forward for progressing the government’s desire for reform,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“With a majority in both houses and strong support from West Australians, the government has to take this opportunity to be bold and make decisions that will shape a bright and prosperous future for this state,” Ms Steinbeck said.


Gemma Osiejak

Executive Manager Communications & Marketing
P: 0421 506 819