Pressure is mounting on the State Government to abolish or re-assess them as several local governments have said the system is flawed.
All six councils within the Metro Central Joint DAP area, apart from the City of Canning, and the Cities of Vincent, Stirling and Bayswater have all expressed support for change.
DAPs are intended to enhance planning expertise in decision-making and are mandatory on developments worth more than $10 million, while applicants of developments valued between $2 million and $10 million can choose to have them determined by a DAP.
They seek to improve the balance between technical advice and local knowledge and each DAP consists of five panel members – three specialist members and two local government councillors.
The City of Rockingham did not support the establishment of DAPs and in 2009 council resolved to advise the Department of Planning of its objection in response to the release of a discussion paper on their implementation.
The City was disappointed with the recent Metro South-West Joint DAP decision to approve the Rockingham Montessori School campus and has since expressed its disappointment and objection to the director general of the Department of Planning.
“There is no evidence to suggest DAPs have improved decisions made by council and the Western Australian Planning Commission,” Mayor Barry Sammels said.
“Recent examples of the Metro South-West JDAP going against council’s recommendations in its responsible authority reports include Rockingham Montessori School, and the recent decision to overturn the City’s refusal of development approval upon review to approve a mixed use development showroom and office on Lot 159 Minden Lane in the Baldivis Town Centre.”
The City of Vincent has gone a step further than voicing disapproval and voted to recommend abolishing DAPs completely – a motion the City of Stirling will also consider at a future council meeting.
However, Planning Minister John Day said the DAP system was reviewed in 2013 and found that the system was working, with only a small number of cases going against local government recommendations.
“Of the 1000 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 (WALGA) found that 94 per cent of applications are determined in accordance with the recommendation of the local government.”