Taylor Burrell Barnett

Reforms to Development Assessment Panels

TBB Reacts: Major Planning Reforms to accelerate housing delivery

Whilst the announcement of the reform measures to Development Assessment Panels is encouraging, the detail provided in the reform package is unfortunately light, as the proposed amendments to the Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panel) Regulations 2011 are not yet available.

Much of this reform has previously been announced by the Government.

The key details are:

  • Reduce the number of DAP’s from the five panels which currently operate throughout the State to only three – one for each of the inner and outer Perth Metropolitan areas, and a third panel to service all regional areas.
  • Appoint full-time, permanent members to serve as the Presiding Member and Deputy Presiding Member on each panel.
  • Modify the eligibility criteria so that any proponent with a development proposal with an estimated cost exceeding $2 million may opt to have the application determined by a DAP, removing the current mandatory application thresholds.
  • Modify the eligibility criteria so that apartment or grouped dwellings proposals of less than 10 dwellings with an overall development cost exceeding $2 million will be eligible for consideration by a DAP rather than being excluded from the system.
  • Permit any community housing project to opt-in to the DAP system, regardless of financial threshold.

We consider the above to be sensible additions and will hopefully assist in attracting investment and streamlining approvals for much needed infill and community housing in Western Australia. The appointment of full-time members and less DAPs may offer some benefits for consistency in decision making, but it is crucial that those appointed are experienced professionals in statutory planning. Modifying the thresholds is welcomed to provide flexibility for applicants.

Applicants should be aware that social housing projects are typically not subject to local government determination and can either be exempt or determined by WAPC. There would likely be limited instances where an application would require DAP determination for community housing projects. We look forward to delving into the reforms in more detail once the Regulations are released.

Learn more about the major Planning Reforms to accelerate housing delivery