COVID-19: Reasonable Timeframe for Planning Changes Friday, May 29, 2020
Many Local Governments support planning reform. However, not enough consideration has been given to the potential impact on residents and communities of wide ranging planning reforms currently before the WA Parliament.
 
WA Local Government Association President, Mayor Tracey Roberts said an expedited process of reviewing the potentially unforeseen impacts of the legislation could be achieved within one month.
 
“Local Governments support planning reform and want to see projects get underway and the creation of jobs for the community to help recover from the pandemic,” Mayor Roberts said.
 
“Rushing through such important legislation without the proper consideration by all affected parties, especially residents and the community, is a high risk.
 
“The unintended consequences on the community could be projects that are not required to give consideration to issues such as, traffic, heritage, or appropriate building heights to reduce overlooking and overshadowing of private property.
 
“The proposed planning reform is well intentioned, but it would be a tragedy if the legacy of the pandemic response was ill considered or problematic developments that adversely impact communities for the long term.”
 
Mayor Roberts said she is aware of a suggestion by the property and investment industry that WA needed to hasten the reforms to ensure projects were not lost to other states.
 
“However, it is concerning that the fast-track approval process is proposed to be open for 18 months and projects not required to be substantially commenced for an additional four years,” she said.
 
“A five and half year window is hardly an immediate period, and the urgency argument ignores that those proponents and investors with genuine projects can already lodge development applications.
 
“A one month delay is not much to ensure we get it right when it concerns a five and a half year time-frame, that if done poorly could have long term detrimental impacts on residents and communities.
 
“The Local Government sector has worked well with the State Government to respond to the pandemic and we would like to think that constructive relationship would continue as we move into the recovery phase.”