De­vel­op­ers given more flex­i­bil­ity

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

THE State Gov­ern­ment will widen the thresh­old for Devel­op­ment As­sess­ment ap­pli­ca­tions, pro­vid­ing de­vel­op­ers more op­por­tu­nity to by­pass lo­cal gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion.

State Plan­ning Min­is­ter John Day an­nounced the changes on Tues­day, April 21, drop­ping the opt-in thresh­old from $3 mil­lion to $2 mil­lion and ex­tend­ing the manda­tory limit from $7 mil­lion to $10 mil­lion.

Ap­pli­ca­tions to the spe­cial­ist Devel­op­ment As­sess­ment Panel grew by more than 40 per cent be­tween 2011 and 2014, with more than 321 ap­pli­ca­tions re­ceived last fi­nan­cial year.

The DAP ap­proved more than 90 per cent of the ap­pli­ca­tions sub­mit­ted in 2013-14, not in­clud­ing those de­ferred.

Mr Day said the mod­i­fied thresh­old would pro­vide de­vel­op­ers more flex­i­bil­ity and cre­ate a more trans­par­ent sys­tem.

“At a com­mu­nity level, the re­duc­tion of the opt-in thresh­old recog­nises that some smaller-priced de­vel­op­ments may ben­e­fit from be­ing re­viewed by an in­de­pen­dent panel,” Mr Day said.

Ur­ban Devel­op­ment In­sti­tute of Australia chief ex­ec­u­tive De­bra Goost­rey wel­comed the changes, which she said were long sought by the in­dus­try.

“This is not about choos­ing one ap­proval process above an­other across the board; rather, it is about in­creas­ing the choices that are avail­able to each pro­po­nent so that they can make de­ci­sions ap­pro­pri­ate to their cir­cum­stances,” Ms Goost­rey said.

The changes to the DAP thresh­old come into ef­fect on May 1.


Mayor Simon Withers wel­comed the change and said he would like to see it taken fur­ther by lift­ing the ceil­ing to $20 mil­lion or more.

“Most de­vel­op­ers will get the same or a sim­i­lar ap­proval from our coun­cil process as they would from a DAP, but de­vel­op­ers who want to over­reach will al­ways chance their arm with a DAP be­cause they know they will get nowhere with the coun­cil,” Mr Withers said.

“When it works well, the lo­cal gov­ern­ment devel­op­ment ap­proval process is far su­pe­rior to the DAP process.

“Some coun­cils, how­ever, are very dif­fi­cult to deal with and it is no sur­prise that de­vel­op­ers in those ar­eas choose the DAP process.” Mos­man Park More flats could be the re­sult of the State Gov­ern­ment in­creas­ing the value of homes that do not need coun­cil ap­proval and go to a Devel­op­ment As­sess­ment Panel (DAP), Mos­man Park Mayor Ron Nor­ris says.

“There’s a 40-year em­bargo on the devel­op­ment of apart­ments in this Town, but by in­creas­ing the DAP catch­ment you can imag­ine there could be a greater in­cen­tive for de­vel­op­ers to buy 4-5 blocks to build flats, and that’s not in the town plan­ning scheme, and get­ting around that by go­ing to a DAP,” he said.

Mr Nor­ris re­jected sug­ges­tions the Gov­ern­ment’s change was a puni­tive step af­ter coun­cils re­jected merg­ers ear­lier this year and said it was “just the next step in strip­ping plan­ning pow­ers from coun­cils”.


Mayor Jock Barker said the thresh­old change would not sig­nif­i­cantly af­fect the Town of Clare­mont.

“We’ve got more high-end cost de­vel­op­ments in Clare­mont,” Mr Barker said.

“I can’t re­mem­ber the last $2 mil­lion house we had come through Coun­cil.”


Mayor Jo Dawkins said lo­cal gov­ern­ment plan­ning was be­ing moved to the Gov­ern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor and although coun­cils op­er­ated along com­mu­nity lines, they would have to live with the con­se­quences of DAP, Metropoli­tan Re­de­vel­op­ment Author­ity and the State Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal de­ci­sions.

“This split-sys­tem ap­proach, which is os­ten­si­bly in the name of greater ef­fi­ciency, ef­fec­tive­ness and econ­omy, in re­al­ity can ac­tu­ally be­come cum­ber­some, con­fus­ing and costly,” she said.

She said some of the DAPap­proved de­vel­op­ments in WA risked erod­ing “co­he­sive streetscapes” and would annoy com­mu­ni­ties. Ned­lands Mayor Max Hip­kins said ex­pand­ing the DAP manda­tory thresh­old was a “slap in the face” to the lo­cal com­mu­nity, who wanted to have a say about de­vel­op­ments.

“This is Pre­mier Colin Bar­nett’s pay­back to lo­cal gov­ern­ment for not re­form­ing it­self,” Mr Hip­kins said.


Mayor Heather Hen­der­son said the changes to the thresh­old were yet an­other ex­am­ple of the “fur­ther ero­sion” of plan­ning pow­ers from lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

“While some ap­pli­cants will choose to go with the DAP, we be­lieve Coun­cil is best placed to make th­ese plan­ning de­ci­sions on be­half of our com­mu­nity,” Mrs Hen­der­son said.

Ron Nor­ris

Jo Dawkins

Max Hip­kins

Heather Hen­der­son

Simon Withers

Jock Barker

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