Bayswater Council calls on State Government to ban developer donations to politicians

Stock image.
Stock image.

BAYSWATER Council has called on the State Government to follow in Queensland and New South Wales’ footsteps to ban developer donations, in response to an independent review of the planning system.

At last night’s committee meeting, the council endorsed City officers’ public submission in relation to experienced town planner Evan Jones’ Modernising Western Australia’s Planning System – Green Paper Concepts for a Strategically-led System, which was released in May.

The Green Paper is an independent paper commissioned by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti, and will assist in preparing a White Paper that will set out the Government’s proposed reforms for a contemporary planning system.

The State Government have indicated that the White Paper will be prepared in mid-late 2018, advertised in late 2018 and presented to the State Government for consideration in early 2019.

Key proposals in the paper include establishing a developer contributions panel to review local planning scheme amendments, developing a new State Planning Policy, require local governments to prepare local housing strategies, reduce red tape for business by standardising land uses, develop a community engagement charter and make recordings of DAP meetings publicly available.

Councillors also passed Deputy Mayor Chris Cornish’s amendment for the City to call on the State Government to to ban developer donations to state political parties, State and local government elected members and highlight the key aspects of the City’s comments in a response letter to Ms Saffioti.

The letter will be sent to Premier Mark McGowan, Opposition Leader Mike Nahan and minor parties.

Cr Cornish said his amendment would help restore trust, transparency and accountability in the decision-making process.

“It is time for WA to get with the times,” he said.

Cr Lorna Clarke said while she was not supportive of developer contributions, the paper reflected a review of planning law not electoral law.

Mayor Dan Bull said the paper was one step, not a sole chance to shape the future of the planning system.

Some of the City’s key recommendations include a Local Planning Strategy review and include a housing component rather than a separate Local Housing Strategy, for WA Planning Commission, State Administrative Tribunal and Development Assessment Panel meetings to be made public, recorded and made available online, more on-site visits by the planning powers before decisions are made and introduce third party appeal rights in relation to WAPC, SAT and DAP.

The public have until July 20 to make submissions at www.planning.wa.gov.au .