CITY of Stirling has joined 13 other councils in calling for the abolition of Development Assessment Panels (DAPs).
Councillors supported a motion on Tuesday night that advocated for several reforms to the Planning and Development Regulations, including equal membership of local government and appointed specialist members.
The motion stated DAPs represented a “significant erosion of planning powers” by elected representatives.
“Some previous decisions made by the Metro North-West JDAP have gone well beyond the purpose, intent and application of relevant Local Planning Policies adopted by the City of Stirling,” the council report said.
Councillor Samantha Jenkinson said elected members needed to ensure the “community voice is heard” when it came to development applications.
“Some of the decision making which is committed to grassroots community engagement is missing from the DAPs,” she said.
Cr Elizabeth Re, who originally put the motion forward, said DAPs failed to give the community a voice in planning matters.
“DAPs have left community consultation at the back door,” she said.
“There needs to be a fairer system.”
Planning Minister Donna Faragher told the Stirling Times she had begun discussions with councils about DAPs.
Ms Faragher said while she was aware of “concerns” over DAPs, the process had been working well.
“There have been over 1000 applications that have gone through the DAP system since it commenced in 2011 and at the end of the day around 94 per cent have been in line with councils recommendations,” she said.
“I am already embarking on meeting with local councils.
“I am keen to hear their views not only in relation to DAPs but also other planning matters.
“I’m keen to hear about particular issues and some constructive suggestions on how we might tweak the system.”
The minister did not confirm whether there would be a review of DAPs before the State election.
Councils who have voted to abolish the DAPs:
-Town of Cambridge