Flawed Development Assessment Panel

Flawed Development Assessment Panel
Flawed Development Assessment Panel

PRESSURE is mounting on the state government to abolish or re-assess the operation of development assessment panels (DAPS), as several local governments unite to say the system is flawed.

DAPs take power away from councils to decide on developments worth more than $10 million.

Developers with projects worth more than $2 million can also “opt-in” to have it assessed by a DAP.

All six councils within the Metro Central Joint DAP area, apart from the City of Canning, have expressed support for change within the state planning body.

Its problem, according to many councillors and planners in local governments, is that local planning schemes developed by councils with public consultation are routinely ignored.

They also argue the odds are stacked against local interests because only two out of five panellists are from the respective local council.

At tonight’s City of Belmont council meeting, Councillor Janet Powell will introduce a motion calling for a comprehensive review of the operation and structure of Development Assessment Panels.

Meanwhile, the City of Vincent went further and voted to recommend abolishing DAPs completely – a motion the City of Stirling will also consider at a future council meeting.

“There are three specialist members on the DAP and two Councillor representatives,” Cr Powell said.

“The interest of the local community and its planning are by default of secondary importance.”

Cr Powell said if DAPs were to maintain their current structure, the community would view involvement in future planning as a futile process.

“JDAP appears to be more concerned with making the development work rather than is ‘this a good planning outcome’,” Cr Powell said.

Mr Day said the DAP system was reviewed in 2013.

He said he the DAP system was working and only a small fraction of cases went against local government recommendations.

“Of the 1,000 applications since DAPs were introduced in 2011, only a small number have been contentious, the vast majority progress without issue,” he said.

“Recent analysis by the WA Local Government Authority found that 94 per cent of applications are determined in accordance with the recommendation of the local government.”

Despite those figures, WALGA is fervently against the DAP system.

To see what our local governments have to say about Development Assessment Panels see here