On 20 May 2020, the State Government announced major planning reforms to stimulate economic growth to assist with the COVID-19 recovery.
The proposed planning reforms and exemptions include:
- Applications for a significant development to be determined by the WAPC for a period of 18 months;
- A new Special Matters Development Assessment Panel to consider complex proposals;
- Changes to community engagement and consultation on strategic planning documents;
- Planning exemptions for minor developments (minor extensions, patios, carports, shade sails and pergolas);
- Change of use applications to be abolished in town centre location for a number of different uses;
- An updated cash-in-lieu framework and waive shortfalls up to 10 car bays; and
- A streamlined, coordinated approval process for simple development applications.
The State Government has moved quickly with various legislative changes.
On 24 June 2020, the State Government announced the legislation has been passed, with a new development application process to be introduced. The changes to the original legislation includes changes to the definition of significant development, will now be as follows:
- development proposals with an estimated cost of $20 million or more in the metropolitan region; or
- development proposals with an estimated cost of $5 million in areas outside the metropolitan region (excludes warehouses).
The legislative and regional planning framework need to be changed first to implement many of the reforms released by the State Government. To give everyone a better understanding, now that the various sections of the Bill have passed Parliament, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) will progress changes to the:
- Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 reforms include changes to planning schemes and policies - structure and precinct planning and development application processes and consultation;
- Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panel) Regulations 2011 will create a new Special Matters Development Assessment Panel.
In parallel with the legislative and regulatory reforms, the City understands the DPLH will be preparing new policies and review existing policies for the Residential Design Codes (i.e. residential design standards such as density, open space, setbacks etc..) and Liveable Neighbourhoods (subdivision design standards).
The City has always cooperated with the State Government and development industry to deliver timely quality planning decisions and outcomes. The City's pragmatic approach towards the planning system has ensured that quality developments have proceeded without undue delay, to the benefit of Rockingham. For many years now, the City has not required planning applications for minor developments such as single houses, two grouped dwellings, patios, sheds, garages and swimming pools. These are usually dealt with by building permit only, which significantly reduces the red tape and approval times for such developments.
The proposed major planning reforms do not change the requirement to obtain a building permit for patios, sheds and other buildings and structures from the City as required.
Cutting Red Tape in the Planning System
Government of Western Australia Media Statement 20 May 2020