PLANNING REFORM ACTION PLAN KEY TO IMPROVING HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA) has welcomed the state government’s Action Plan for Planning Reform stating that a consistent, efficient and more accountable and transparent planning system should result in increased housing affordability and a greater diversity of housing choice in the right areas for residents of Perth and the regions.
“Clunky decision-making processes that have resulted in unnecessary delays and layers of bureaucracy have only added to the costs of development over the years,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said.
“At the end of the day, those costs are passed on to the end purchaser and that has been a major contributor to WA’s lack of affordability in recent years,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“UDIA has been advocating for a clearer, more efficient planning system for well over a decade and it is pleasing to see the government finally taking the lead and getting this action plan in place following the reform green paper last year,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“We have seen good intentions in relation to planning reform in the past,” Ms Steinbeck said. “Over a decade ago we had the release of ‘Planning Makes it Happen’ that set out 11 key strategic reform priorities.”
“That paper set out to simplify planning approvals, increase consistency across local governments, deliver quality urban forms and improve the coordination of infrastructure…doesn’t that sound familiar?” Ms Steinbeck said.
“The difference this time around is hopefully in the delivery of this clear action plan that we hope will provide real results that will be felt ‘on the ground’ when it comes to reducing timeframes and ensuring the best outcomes for local communities and residents,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“The risk-based approach that is being implemented as part of this reform agenda will see lower risk proposals get through the process faster, so that resources can be more effectively targeted on larger more complex proposals, which just makes sense,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“We shouldn’t be clogging up the system with applications that can be quickly dealt with, that time and energy should be put into those projects that require more attention,” Ms Steinbeck said.
DEVELOPMENT ASSSESSMENT PANELS (DAPs)
“The reduction in the number of DAPs from nine down to no more than three is another good move that should provide greater consistency and clarity of process,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“Overall, increasing the transparency of decision making and allowing people to understand the reasons behind decision making will also avoid confusion and increase understanding of the process,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“The lack of consistency across local government has been a major, ongoing issue for the development industry,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“More support for local government and refined scope will hopefully ensure that local governments can operate more strategically and it is easier to navigate those local processes which can cause major delays,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“Basic things like making sure Local Planning Policies are prepared in a standard manner with standard zones, providing access to plans and policies online, and ensuring regular five-year reviews of LPPs will all assist with improving the overall development process,” Ms Steinbeck said.
WESTERN AUSTRALIAN PLANNING COMMISSION (WAPC)
“UDIA is also supportive of the reduction in members of the WAPC from an unwieldy 16 members down to ten and we hope this leads to a more strategic and efficient decision-making body,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“The WAPC should be a strong, overarching body that has the capacity to make strategic decisions and enable the planning system to move with the times and address changing environments rather than get bogged down in detail,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“Overall, it may have taken many years to get to this point, but as an industry we are glad to see this action plan put in place and we look forward to working with the government to ensure we continue to improve the planning system and the resulting outcomes for the community,” Ms Steinbeck said.
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