“Outdated” planning schemes influencing DAP decisions
A year-long inquiry into Western Australia’s Development Assessment Panel (DAP) wrapped up recently with the committee making a range of recommendations to the Department of Planning.
DAPs were introduced in 2011 and effectively remove Local Government Authorities (LGAs) from exclusively controlling approvals for major residential projects by allowing developers to gain planning approval from assessment panels that contain independent experts as well as local government representatives.
However, the system has copped some criticism from groups, including LGAs, opposing high-density residential property options, such as apartment complexes.
The inquiry into DAPs was launched by the state government in October last year to review the operation and effectiveness of the process.
Last month, the committee released its report, which delivered three key findings and 19 recommendations in total.
One of the main findings from the review was that some of the DAP’s decisions had been affected by “outdated” and “inconsistent” planning schemes of various LGAs.
Another main finding highlighted that there was no penalties imposed on LGAs if they failed to renew their local planning schemes.
The state government is aiming to increase residential development infill to 47% of all new properties by 2030 in an effort to slow urban sprawl and ease the strain on Perth’s public infrastructure.
However, many LGAs are failing to adopt this strategy and create an environment that’s conducive to medium and high-density living.
The inquiry report also recommended regular reviews of the DAP process to ensure it continued to operate effectively.
The committee found that processing times for DAP approvals over the past 4 years average 95 days. However, the total number of projects to be deferred for amendments had increased over the past year.
In the first 3 years of operation, the DAP deferred just seven projects, however in the fourth year the number of projects deferred for amendments reached 37.
The Western Australian government has until early November to respond.