CITY of Bayswater will write to the State Government, State Opposition and the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) to express “disappointment” over recent State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) decisions.
At the November 14 council meeting, Bayswater councillors supported councillor Filomena Piffaretti’s motion to write to the State Government and State Opposition 7-3, with Cr Catherine Ehrhardt, Cr Elli Petersen-Pik ,Cr Sally Palmer voting against.
Council voted unanimously to request WALGA to lobby Planning Minister Rita Saffioti to review the relevant State legislation so that SAT gave greater regard to the council’s decisions and community submissions in its consideration of planning review and appeal matters.
During the debate, councillors discussed SAT’s approvals of a telecommunications tower in Crimea Park in Morley and the concrete batching plant on Collier Road.
Cr Piffaretti said the council should not be ignored and Ms Saffioti and WALGA should be more aware of its concerns.
WALGA president Lynne Craigie said the issues raised by the City echoed those of several other local governments in terms of recent SAT decisions that did not seem to align with the local planning scheme and council’s local policy framework.
“WALGA has been advocating for the Minister for Planning to initiate an independent review of the entire planning framework,” Cr Craigie said.
“There have been many changes over the last decade, and these need to be checked/audited as to their effectiveness.”
The Planning Minister has no power over SAT or its governing legislation, as it comes under Attorney General John Quigley.
A spokesperson for Mr Quigley said SAT was an independent statutory body established to make and review a range of administrative decisions and it heard legislation matters across many portfolios.
“It is not possible, or appropriate, for the Attorney General to intervene in a judicial decision, including a decision of the Tribunal,” the spokesperson said.
Shadow planning spokeswoman Liza Harvey said she expected Morley MLA Amber-Jade Sanderson to continue advocating for local residents on the telecommunications tower issue.
Ms Sanderson said she supported the council’s decision to write to Ms Saffioti on the issue.
“As I’ve said previously, I find it very frustrating the SAT has ignored the council and the community with this decision,” she said.
“I have also helped the residents draft a petition requesting that the Legislative Council inquire into the functioning on the SAT under the current Act, in particular looking at SAT’s ability to over-ride and ignore local government policy.”