Lobby group formed to oppose development assessment panels

Lobby group formed to oppose development assessment panels
Lobby group formed to oppose development assessment panels

RESIDENTS of 45 Perth communities affected by developments approved by unelected development assessment panels (DAPs) will take their fight to the 2017 State Election.

Lobby Scrap the DAPs will fight against DAP decisions that have ruled against local councils’ recommendations, after it was formed at a meeting in Mosman Park last Wednesday .

“There is no planning assessment process in WA, as what we have is a planning approval system,” former Cottesloe lawyer Sandra Boulter said.

Ms Boulter said WA needed third-party appeal rights so neighbours to developments had power in DAP decisions given, an she claimed there was no legal connection between what was planned and then developed.

Across Perth, 21 councils have passed motions opposing DAPs, which comprise two local councillors and three State appointees who can decide on any development worth more than $2 million if a developer bypasses local governments, which have had their planning powers reduced.

Groups fighting DAPs included residents facing proposals of developments up to 44 storeys in residential South Perth, Scarborough high-rise and central Fremantle apartments, R100 density in Alfred Cove, and Applecross and Kensington apartments.

Other DAP-affected communities include Byford infill, Victoria Park and Burswood apartments, and medium density up to nine storeys in railway-serviced historic suburbs such as Bayswater and Guildford.

“We’re just finding out that this blind push for infill along the rail line is not that well though out,” Guildford resident Andrew Kiely said, .

Meeting organiser Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said Scrap the DAPs could target marginal State seats like Belmont at the State Election, but the lobby’s uniting aim was to restore planning powers back to councils and people.

Town planner and Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins said WA could adopt eastern states rules allowing State governments to only have final decisions on developments of regional and State significance.

However, Property Council WA executive director Lino Iacomella the anti-DAP campaign was “misinformed” because DAPs operated under a code of conduct for the best interests of the wider community, not “just a noisy minority”, and #Keep the DAP would be launched.

N Opinion p8.