Outcomes from the Local Government Performance Monitoring Project, which outlines the performance of the planning and building functions of 11 metropolitan Local Governments in the 2016/2017 financial year, proves that Local Governments are achieving their planning functions.
These Local Governments encompass 54% of the total population of the Greater Perth region and account for 70% of Perth’s growth between 2011 and 2016.
WA Local Government Association President Cr Craigie said the sector has achieved the statutory timeframes of the approvals process and displayed excellent performance in local planning.
“98% of all applications were approved or responded to within the statutory timeframes,” she said.
“On average 95.9% of applications were approved under delegated authority, allowing Council officers to assess and approve applications rather than being considered at a full Council meeting.
“Delegating applications to officers results in faster decision-making times.”
The project was initiated by the participants in response to concerns over the 2016 Property Council report, which failed to accurately represent all of the planning and building functions a Local Government undertakes, according to Cr Craigie.
In future years, the Local Governments will be able to show their current performance against historical statistics to encourage continued improvement and monitoring of performance of all their planning functions. 
WALGA is in discussion with other Councils for more Local Governments to participate in this monitoring project.
The State Government has also been advised of this project, as the ability to prepare regulations to collate this planning and building information has existed since 2009, but has never been progressed, Cr Craigie said.
“We would welcome the opportunity to work with the State and our Members to progress a more transparent review of the entire planning process, which would allow our Members the opportunity to provide greater input and feedback into any findings and methods of assessment,” she said.
“The Association would like to see the data sets in the Local Government Performance Monitoring Projects included in any regulations that might be prepared by the State for all Local Governments.”
Further information and Background
Other key findings include: 
  • Three Local Governments have a current Local Planning Strategy with seven currently reviewing their strategies.
  • Although a current local planning strategy may not have been adopted, on average the group had eight strategic documents that supported land use planning functions, either a strategic community plan, community infrastructure, commercial, housing, environment, economic, transport, activity centre, heritage or open space strategy.
  • Six of the Local Governments had reviewed, consolidated or undertaken an audit of their Local Planning Scheme in the last five years.
  • In 2016/17 the Local Governments finalised an average of six scheme amendments, taking an average of 19 months to complete.
  • On average, 45% of an amendment time is with the WA Planning Commission or Minister for Planning, around 4% of the time is with the Environmental Protection Authority awaiting its advice, resulting in an average time that a Local Government has any control over the Scheme amendment process around 52%.
Local Governments involved in the project are: 
  • City of Armadale
  • City of Belmont
  • City of Canning
  • City of Cockburn
  • City of Gosnells
  • City of Kwinana
  • City of Mandurah
  • City of Melville
  • City of Rockingham
  • City of Swan
  • City of Wanneroo