A faster, more streamlined, consistent and logical decision-making processes were all part of the new State Government’s Planning System reform announced by WA planning minister John Day.
“The focus is really about getting a more timely decision-making process in relation to planning approvals and land use decisions,” he said.
“It is necessarily a slow and deliberate process at the moment, we believe that there can be steps put in place that take less time and more consistent and logical decision-making processes.”
Among the changes, planning approvals would no longer be needed for single houses compliant with residential design codes, or R-codes.
“Where people need a separate planning approval to build a house, if it’s compliant with the R-codes, as is the case with many local governments at the moment, they don’t need approval, and the changes that we’ll put in place mean that planning approval won’t be required in any local government in that situation,” Mr Day said.
There will also be changes to Development Assessment Panels (DAP), which take the place of local government approvals at certain thresholds.
Developers can now opt to go directly to a panel for developments ranging from $2 million to $10 million. The previous thresholds were $3 million to $7 million.
It will become mandatory for any developments more than $10 million to go directly to a panel.
“The new thresholds will enable more people to opt in or out of the DAP process to provide a greater level of flexibility,” Mr Day said.
The move to increasing urban infill programs and more multi-unit developments has also prompted a change to the design of apartment developments.
“We want to make sure there’s more attention given to good design outcomes, both aesthetically from the street and also from a functional point of view for people living in there, so we are going to move more down the path of considering requiring architectural input into that process,” Mr Day said.