Alannah MacTiernan critical of DAP process

Alannah MacTiernan said there was “zero accountability” to DAP discretionary powers.
Alannah MacTiernan said there was “zero accountability” to DAP discretionary powers.

FEDERAL Perth MHR Alannah MacTiernan says the Metro Central Joint Development Assessment Panel (DAP) inappropriately used discretion when it approved a seven-storey development on King William Street in Bayswater.

She said “something needed to be done” to contain the wide discretionary powers DAPs have to approve WA developments as there was currently “absolutely zero accountability”.

Her remarks follow new Planning Minister Donna Faragher’s comments she would like to meet with local governments to discuss their DAP concerns.

Ms MacTiernan has invited all Perth residents to a meeting to discuss how DAPs affect the community and could be reformed, following “major unhappiness” raised by many Perth councils.

City of Bayswater has written to the State Government to express its disappointment over the approval of the King William Street development and is currently seeking legal advice as to whether it would challenge the decision in the Supreme Court.

“(Special Control Area 12 stated) it was very clearly maximum five storeys, I don’t understand what aspect of the word maximum they didn’t understand,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“That to me is the one of the clearest cases of contempt.”

Ms MacTiernan said more apartments were needed in Perth but the process needed to be more balanced.

“For large-scale development, there is a place for a DAP but there has to be a greater degree of accountability and there has to be a greater respect for the plain meaning and scale of development,” she said.

“We need to limit the degree to which these people can go off and frolic to accommodate the developers.

“Discretion is used so overwhelmingly that decisions bear no or little relationship to what the Town Planning Scheme seems to say.”

Ms MacTiernan said ways to reform DAPs could include limiting discretionary powers, raising the monetary threshold of developments assessed and consider including an independent chair and members from other councils.

“When you have an elected body exercising discretion they would stand or fall at the next election on the way in which they exercise their discretion,” she said.

The DAP meeting will be held at Forrest Park Croquet Club, Thursday, April 28, Mt Lawley 7pm-9pm.

Vincent Mayor John Carey and shadow planning minister Rita Saffioti will also attend the event.