THE City of South Perth has welcomed changes to the Development Assessment Panels (DAP) process but the council wants to see more reforms.
Among the changes announced by the State Government is an option to opt-out of a DAP in favour of a local government for developments, such as industrial warehouses, that will not significantly impact local amenity.
DAP agendas will be published at least seven days before a meeting – instead of the current five days – to provide greater advance notice to the public.
The City kick-started a campaign for an independent review of the DAP process after putting forward a motion during the WA Local Government AGM in August.
Mayor Sue Doherty said she supported the proposed administrative changes to the DAP process.
“While the proposed amendments are in draft form, the impact they will have on transparency and flexibility remains to be seen,” she said.
“DAPs are one component of the planning process and a holistic independent review across all parts of the planning system and how it functions is important for the benefit of the community and developers alike.
“The City is committed to delivering the best planning outcomes for our community and while these changes go some way to providing greater efficiency and consistency of the DAP decision making process I look forward to further changes.”
Planning Minister Donna Faragher said the changes were a direct result of recent feedback from key stakeholders, including local governments, as well as suggestions made through the 2015 State Parliamentary inquiry.
“These changes are primarily administrative and will ensure the system remains flexible and responsive, while more clearly communicating DAP decisions to the public,” she said.
WA Local Government Association president Lynne Craigie said the changes did not go far enough to redress local government concerns surrounding the system’s effectiveness and increased rather than reduced red tape burden on councils.
“Feedback from our members has revealed significant concerns about the strategic intent and effectiveness of the DAPs system, however the changes proposed are merely administrative in nature,” she said.
“Our call for a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis remains unheard and instead the sector is being required to undertake additional administration that should be the role of the State.”