February 1 deadline for council compliance with Development Assessment Panel changes

#ScraptheDaps chairman Ron Norris
#ScraptheDaps chairman Ron Norris

COUNCILS have until February 1 to comply with changes to Development Assessment Panels (DAPs) that have produced controversial planning decisions bypassing the concerns of some communities and councils across Perth.

“These changes will ensure the DAP system remains flexible and responsive to community expectations while continuing to provide the best possible planning outcomes for WA,” Planning Minister Donna Faragher said.

DAPs have approved projects worth about $32 billion, including Perth CBD’s Raine Square and the Morley Galleria Shopping Centre, since their 2011 introduction.

This year’s changes include developers being able to leave the DAP process and go to councils for proposals such as warehouses, and DAP agendas being published at least a week before their meetings.

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Councils will also be required to tell the public when a DAP meeting is to be held, council authority reports to DAPs will have more information about why a proposal can be approved and DAP members without proper training will be removed.

However, the changes are not enough for DAP opponents fighting decisions on projects including South Perth, Bayswater and Alfred Cove high-rise, Byford subdivisions or western suburbs redevelopments of shopping areas.

#ScraptheDaps chairman Ron Norris said the changes ignored those wanted by DAP opponents who saw residents and council interests being “subsumed” by developers’ demands that complied with planning schemes but did not represent community values

“It can take 10-15 years to amend planning schemes or introduce new schemes, and councils simply cannot keep up, and their communities are suffering as a result, so the DAP system benefits only developers, and that remains unchanged,” Mr Norris said,

Opposition planning spokeswoman Rita Saffioti welcomed the Government acknowledging DAPs were “not perfect” in its “last-minute changes before the election”.

Ms Saffioti said her party wanted more “transparency, accountability and consultation with communities” by DAPs.