Change needed on DAPs: mayors
WESTERN suburbs mayors at a public forum on controversial Development Assessment Panels (DAP) say there appears little the State Opposition can do about the panels’ power if it wins government next year.
“I can confidently say that based on what I heard at the forum, what Labor will offer won’t be much of an improvement on what we currently have,” Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said.
The Mount Lawley forum, organised by Perth MHR Alannah MacTiernan, was attended by about 100 residents opposing DAPs in suburbs including Perth, Dalkeith, Alfred Cove, Subiaco and Guildford last Thursday.
South Perth residents are fighting potential high-rise to 28 storeys, and a multi-storey block in King William Street, Bayswater is considered by residents and councillors to have been approved by a DAP using an excessive amount of discretion.
Mosman Park’s issue was a DAPapproving redevelopment of the Coles shopping centre in the Town without addressing community and council concerns.
Mr Norris said Opposition Planning spokeswoman Rita Saffioti failed to say if Labor would scrap DAPs, as was wanted by many communities, and it appeared a Labor government would still keep the system, while attempting to make it operate “a bit more fairly”.
“I made the point at the forum that WA was the last state to adopt DAPs, but the last to get rid of them, because many Eastern States have now scrapped them or have introduced a power for their planning ministers to call in and review any project with major or regional importance,” Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins said.
At their meeting last week, Nedlands councillors joined their Cottesloe and Mosman Park counterparts in passing a resolution calling for DAPs to be abolished because they make decisions beyond the rules set by local planning schemes and policies.
Nedlands wants WA councils to have the power to appeal DAP decisions to the State Administrative Tribunal.
Ms Saffioti said the “overwhelming” view at the forum was DAPs needed to change because people were disenfranchised by the amount of discretion being used for large developments, and the lack of accountability and transparency of the DAP process.