Planning Schemes More Than Just Adoption                                      Thursday, June 09, 2016
Claims Councils are operating under inconsistent or out of date planning schemes does not take into account ongoing scheme revisions or recent standardisation through State Regulations.
 
WA Local Government Association President Cr Lynne Craigie said comments by the Property Council’s Executive Director implied individual Council planning schemes had remained static for many years and were out of step with current requirements.
 
“Whilst some Council planning schemes were initially adopted many years ago, they have not remained the same since then, with many amendments and updates occurring over time,” Cr Craigie said.
 
“For example, the City of Nedlands’ scheme has been amended 201 times since the original Scheme was adopted, with the most recent amendment occurring in April 2015.”
 
Cr Craigie said the age of a Scheme had no impact on whether it functioned correctly or reflected current development trends, as the process of amendments to a Scheme allowed for ongoing revision. 
 
“If we used this argument, then numerous Acts of Parliament would also be considered ‘inconsistent’ with current needs and trends, due to their original gazettal dates,” Cr Craigie said.
 
“For example, the Dog Act was gazetted some 40 years ago.  It has remained up to date through 19 separate amendments, with the last occurring in 2013 – the same scenario as many Local Government planning schemes.”
 
Cr Craigie said the discussion also failed to recognise sector-wide standardisation achieved through new Local Planning Scheme Regulations, or the substantial time required by Local Governments in preparing a new scheme, heavily impacted by State Government requirements and response times.
 
“The City of Nedlands has been in negotiations with the State for numerous years about their new Scheme, whilst other Local Governments have waited two to three years for their new Schemes to be approved by the State – and that’s just approval to go out for advertising and commence discussions with stakeholders,” she said. 
 
“We welcome the fact that the Property Council is prepared to undertake new research to inform their public positioning. Indeed, we would be keen to work with them to help ensure that good, factual, data is produced that can inform a genuine reform agenda that results in better outcomes for all parties -  developers, State Agencies and Local Governments alike.”
 
Cr Craigie added member Councils shared the frustrations and concerns of developers in the delivery of supportive infrastructure needed to achieve infill targets.
 
“The uncoordinated approach of servicing agencies in the provision of infrastructure required for infill development has led to significant delays in the progress of projects, which is also frustrating for our members, she said.
 
“We’re hopeful that the current review of the WA Planning Commission’s Infrastructure Coordinating Committee should assist this process and look forward to their upcoming report.”