Councils back call for change to DAP
A NUMBER of councils have welcomed the WA Local Government Association’s decision to lobby for changes to the Development Assessment Panels (DAP) system following questions about community involvement in decision making.
WALGA’s State Council agreed on September 9 to support a push for changes to WA’s planning systems.
The decision follows support for a City of South Perth motion for an independent review of the DAPs and the State Administrative Tribunal during the WA Local Government AGM on August 3.
WALGA president Lynne Craigie said the upcoming state election presented a valuable opportunity to change a flawed DAP system.
“WALGA’s five-year review of the DAP has proven that the current system has a number of failings,” she said.
“These include exceeding legislated timeframes for development application outcomes, running inefficient meetings and dealing with small-scale development applications rather than projects that affect the state.
“The suggested changes will deal with these failings and improve the system.”
City of South Perth chief executive officer Geoff Glass said the council supported a WALGA-led campaign that lobbied for changes to DAPs.
“As a Council and City we hope the campaign will provide opportunities to implement greater transparency, certainty, timeliness and consistency of the decision making process,” he said.
“The City would like to see a wide-reaching review of not just DAPs but the entire WA Planning System that gives consideration to how the aspirations or values of the community are incorporated into the decision-making framework.
“Given the looming March 2017 State election we would expect WALGA to be seeking bi-partisan support for any changes to the DAP system.”
Planning Minister Donna Faragher said DAPs were working “exceptionally well” and had added significant value to the planning system.
“DAPs represent a major contribution to the state’s economy and there are no plans to abolish the existing system but I remain open to suggestions regarding improvements,” she said.
Town of Victoria Park chief executive officer Anthony Vuleta said the council agreed with the changes outlined by WALGA.
“There are a number of further changes to the DAP system that the Town would like to see,” he said.
“Most notably equal representation between local government and specialist members, training of DAP members on issues relevant to the local government and its strategic planning direction, and meeting times and procedures being modified to allow increased community participation.”
The DAP system needs change to clarify governance issues and for process improvements, according to the City of Belmont.
“As with any system there is room for improvement and these will benefit all stakeholders impacted by the DAP process,” acting chief executive officer Neville Deague said.
“WALGA should be advocating a review of the entire planning process system.
“It should also be requiring the WA Planning Commission to enforce the provisions of the Planning and Development Act for those local governments which fail to meet their statutory responsibilities.”
Victoria Park CEO Anthony Vuleta.
Planning Minister Donna Faragher.