City of Stirling labels WALGA’s third party appeal rights model “inequitable”

City of Stirling's council office.
City of Stirling's council office.

THE City of Stirling believes the proposed third party appeal rights model is “inequitable”.

Following a council decision on February 12, the City will write to the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) outlining its objections to introducing third party appeal rights for Development Assessment Panels (DAP).

MORE: City of Stirling wants greater application for third party appeal rights

Council previously provided in-principle support for introducing third party appeal rights in WA but wants it to apply regardless of the decision maker.

In response to WALGA’s request for local government feedback on its preferred model to apply to DAP only, planning director Ross Povey wrote it was an “inequitable solution”.

He said only 0.7 per cent of development applications in the City were determined by DAP over the past three years so not providing appeal rights to 99.3 per cent of applicants was “arguably unfair”.

The submission said the draft model failed to “pursue the wider reform necessary to fix the planning system in Western Australia”.

“The wider issue is how the planning system can be reformed in a way which puts a stop to the ongoing erosion of local government planning authority,” it said.

“It is this erosion which is compromising the ability for local governments to plan for the needs of their communities.

“If the planning system were more responsive to local needs and the exercise of discretion were more clearly defined, then the need for third party appeal rights may well fall away.”

The City reiterated its support for a universal appeal rights model but suggested modifications to WALGA’s proposal including broadening the scope of people who can appeal, extending the timeframe to lodge an appeal from 28 days to 60 days and allowing local governments to be involved in all appeals.

The proposed model enables appeals on amendments to approved developments, known as form two applications, except where the amendment is a time extension, but at the meeting council removed this exception as moved by Councillor Elizabeth Re.

Cr Bianca Sandri did not support the City’s submission because she believed appeals should be dealt with in a short timeframe.