DAPs Changes Superficial                                      Thursday, October 13, 2016
Proposed changes to the Development Assessment Panel process are superficial and will not redress many of the concerns identified by the Local Government sector.

Announced today by Planning Minister Donna Faragher, the proposed changes include a two day extension to the notice period for meeting agendas, extension of the scope to opt-out of the DAP process and a further notification requirement of upcoming DAP meetings to be undertaken by Local Governments.

WA Local Government Association President Cr Lynne Craigie said the changes did not go far enough to redress Local Government concerns surrounding the system’s effectiveness and increased rather than reduced red tape burden on Councils.  

“Feedback from our members has revealed significant concerns about the strategic intent and effectiveness of the DAPs system, however the changes proposed are merely administrative in nature,” she said.

“Our call for a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis remains unheard and instead the sector is being required to undertake additional administration that should be the role of the State.”

Cr Craigie said without the cost benefit analysis, questions would remain around the relevance and effectiveness of the system with limited DAPs resources being focused on minor planning matters, rather than matters of State significance.

“The current system is getting overrun with everyday applications such as petrol stations and fast food outlets with a staggering 258 DAPs meetings held over the last financial year”, she said.

"Many of these applications currently considered by DAPs align with Council recommendations and take longer to determine than through a Council-led process.”

Cr Craigie said WALGA had been advocating for ministerial call in powers and changes to the opt-in system to reduce this unnecessary pressure on DAPs and refocus the process with its original purpose of strategic high level vision rather than day to day development applications.

“Instead of effective review, we are faced with token changes and are being required to absorb an administrative burden on behalf of the Department,” she said.

“Whilst the sector agrees those providing submissions to a DAP application should be notified of upcoming meetings, it is the responsibility of the Department of Planning that administers DAPs rather than the role of individual Local Governments.

“We remain committed to working with the State Government on ways to deliver genuine improvements to the system, but these changes are at best superficial and will do little to benefit local communities and industry alike.”