WESTERN suburbs councils appear unaffected by four-month-old reforms to Development Assessment Panels (DAPs) but it has not stopped one mayor from renewing his calls for them to be abolished.
“We have not had any DAP applications since the changes have come into operation, but suffice to say we are in favour of the changes but believe they do not go far enough,” Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins said.
Mr Hipkins said if the new State Government wanted to simplify administration and save money it should abolish DAPs and give planning power back to councils.
Last October, former planning minister Donna Faragher announced changes including councils considering projects that previously went to DAPs, DAP agendas being published a week before their meetings and all writers of submissions about DAP applications being contacted by councils.
Council’s responsible authority reports to DAPs would also have more information about why decisions can be made.
Last week, the Western Suburbs Weekly asked councils if the reforms had worked.
Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said the Government was committed to monitoring and assessing the reforms’ effectiveness, which was “an ongoing process that requires more time to assess effectively”.
Asked if the Government could consider taking over waste disposal in exchange for giving councils back planning powers, Ms Saffioti said waste disposal was a Minister for Environment responsibility, and there were no plans to “bargain” over planning powers.
A Cottesloe council spokeswoman said it had yet to have a DAP application under the new rules, but the reforms were considered beneficial.
The spokeswoman said the reforms’ contacting each submitter commenting on a DAP application was standard practice and DAP agendas were arriving if the DAP’s administration sent them on time.
Peppermint Grove council has had only had one planning application go to a DAP and none since the reforms.
Claremont chief executive Stephen Goode said that since October there had been no large developments asking for approval and only minor amendments by council staff to already approved developments.