Comments from WALGA President Karen Chappel:

“Local decision making on important planning matters in WA communities will be eroded under the proposed planning reforms announced today by the State Government.

“WALGA does not support Development Assessment Panels (DAPs) in their current structure or as proposed under these reforms.

“It dilutes the ability of Local Government – which best understand their community’s needs – to be involved in the planning process.

“WALGA has been asking for the threshold for proposals to be assessed by a DAP to be increased from $2m to $5m.  The proposed reforms maintain the current threshold.  The DAP system has become clogged with proposals that could be more efficiently assessed at a Local Government level.

“However, WALGA supports the removal of the mandatory $10m and over DAP threshold and is pleased that its advocacy to Government on this aspect has been heard.

“WALGA is concerned by the proposal to allow all multiple dwelling developments to be assessed by a DAP.  Currently only larger (10+) multiple dwelling developments are determined by a DAP.

“Small scale residential proposals are most effectively dealt with at the local level.

“WALGA has consistently opposed the creation of a distinct Special Matters DAP (SMDAP) and does not support the State Government making it permanent or removing the monetary thresholds for assessments.

“Currently, the SMDAP can ignore local planning schemes in its decision making.  WALGA vigorously opposes this and will push for the permanent SMDAP to be bound by local planning schemes.

“The SMDAP has not proved to be an effective and efficient making body to date, with only 16 proposals approved to date.

“By comparison, in 2021-22, across a sample of 30 Local Governments in metropolitan and regional WA, more than 20,000 development applications were assessed, with 99 per cent of those approved. 

“The SMDAP and DAPs erode the role of Local Government in providing a valuable community perspective on planning proposals.

“WALGA is pleased to note the retention of Local Government representation on district DAPs.  WALGA will advocate for the retention of Local Government representation on the WA Planning Commission.

Issued by WALGA Media and Communications 0448 896 435 or