Push for third party appeal rights expands

Stock image.
Stock image.

LOCAL governments will back a push to give people affected by planning decisions third party appeal rights.

More than half of WA Local Government Association delegates backed Bayswater Councillor Giorgia Johnson’s motion to change WALGA’s preferred model for the third party appeals process at their August 7 AGM.

The decision called for closely associated third parties to have the ability to make appeals against decisions by the WA Planning Commission, State Administrative Tribunal and development assessment panels (DAPs).

Concerns were raised that it could delay planning processes, but 93 members supported the change and 79 voted against it.

WALGA’s State council had resolved in May to advocate for the State Government to introduce third party appeal rights and endorsed the preferred model, which would give local governments an avenue to appeal DAP decisions.

Almost 150 WALGA members also supported a motion to advocate for an increase the local government representation on DAPs.

Mover and Mundaring Deputy President Lynn Fisher said there was currently an imbalance on panels, which have three technical planning experts and two local councillors.

Cr Fisher said increasing the latter to three would demonstrate respect for the expertise of local members, and if needed, the presiding panel member could have the deciding vote.

Subiaco Councillor Julie Matheson raised concerns that panel members were expected to make decisions independently of their councils, which she said ignored councillors’ roles under the Local Government Act.

Other motions passed at the AGM related to road taxes, biosecurity areas, waste to energy plants, mining act review and increasing financial assistance grants.

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