CONTINUED PLANNING SYSTEM OVERHAUL WELCOMED
The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA) has welcomed the State Government’s move to open up broad community and stakeholder consultation on the next stage of planning reform.
“Not only is it critical that we achieve a much simpler and clearer planning system, but it is also important that all stakeholders, including local community members, have faith in the rigour of the statutory processes,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said.
“This state government has worked hard to implement tangible improvements to the system including increasing the transparency of Development Assessment Panels (DAPs) and introducing the new Significant Development Pathway,” Ms Steinbeck said. “But there is more work to be done.”
“We are very pleased to see that the Special Matters Development Panel will be established to consider State-significant developments moving forward” Ms Steinbeck said.
“Perth is a growing and evolving city and enabling quality projects to proceed through the system in a streamlined and timely manner is beneficial to local communities, our economy and all importantly, affordability,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“I also think that broad community consultation will reveal West Australians support for a city that can accommodate a growing population in a range of areas including in appropriate infill areas and activity centres,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“Perth is a maturing city and it is time we heard from as many people as possible about the system in place to guide that growth, rather than just a vocal minority, which is often the case currently,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“Consultation will provide an opportunity for the community to provide feedback as well as build a greater understanding of the decision making processes and what is involved currently,” Ms Steinbeck said.
According to Ms Steinbeck, Minister Saffioti has provided excellent leadership on the planning reform journey to date, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic when immediate measures were taken to ensure that industry could respond and contribute effectively to the economic recovery.
UDIA also supports moves to establish a state referral co-ordination process to allow the co-ordination of State agency, utilities and departmental referrals for significant development applications.
“Lack of coordination between government agencies and other stakeholders such as utilities and local governments consistently causes unnecessary delays that just end up adding to the end price of housing for consumers,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“An overarching structure that oversees that coordination is vital to achieve efficiency, transparency and timeliness.”
A focus on improving local government performance is also a positive according to the UDIA WA.
“While there are those local governments that perform very well, equally there are those LGA’s that cause projects to get absolutely bogged down in red tape because they are not doing the work upfront to sort out their local planning schemes and have a clear picture of what their local area will look like in the coming years,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“We need to see local governments with consistent processes, adhering to statutory time frames and transparently reporting on their performance,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“Overall, we applaud the State Government for staying the course and continuing to implement much needed reform in the planning system,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“This is important for ongoing housing supply and affordability along with broader economic growth.”
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