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Development applications

Before lodging a development application, applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposal with our Planning Services team. We will advise whether the desired land use or development complies with the development standards and requirements of Town Planning Scheme No.2. 

Please note: The following applications do not require development approval on residential zoned land:

  • Single house (including patio additions)
  • two grouped dwelling applications (two residential units on one property).

Please make separate enquiries with our Building Services Team on 9528 0333 to check if an R-Codes approval is required in addition to a building permit. If you lodge an application that is not required we will cancel it and refund the application fee. To avoid delays, please follow this advice.

Online development applications

Do you want to lodge a development application online?

You can use our online portal, Rock Port, to lodge your application. First time users will need to create a new account for the online lodgement of a development application. Existing users can log in with their existing Rock Port account. You will need to have your Application for Development Approval Form ready.

Lodge a development application

Additional information relating to the keeping of livestock can be viewed on the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development website.

New planning exemptions and requirements

Planning Regulations Amendment Regulations 2020

On 21 December 2020, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) notified the City that the Planning Regulations Amendment Regulations 2020 (Amendment Regulations) have been gazetted.

The Amendment Regulations include a range of changes designed to streamline development assessment processes and reduce unnecessary red tape, to help support the State’s economic recovery.  The Amendment Regulations have amended the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 (Planning Regulations) and other Planning Regulations.

From 15 February 2021, there will be a range of exemptions for small projects such as patios and water tanks from development approval.

Other Planning Regulation changes include:

  • Removing the need for planning approvals for certain change-of-use applications such as small cafe or restaurant, change of use shop (floor space limited) etc.;
  • Planning approval exemption for Home Occupations but not for Home Businesses;
  • A limit of only one further request for additional information from local governments for applications that do not require public advertising or referral;
  • Consistent public consultation requirements for complex development applications;
  • Prioritising online publication of planning documents, with an option for hard copies to be made available; and
  • Introducing a single planning process for structure plans and precinct structure plans.

There are various conditions relating to the above listed exemptions included in the Planning Regulations Amendment Regulations 2020.

A 'deemed to comply' check lodged by building companies will enable local government to ensure compliance with the Residential Design Codes and allows these development proposals to progress straight to the building approval stage.

For more information on the Consolidated Planning Regulations, and for DPLH Fact Sheets and guidance please use the following links:

Consolidated Planning Regulations Amendment Regulations 2020

DPLH Fact Sheets and guidance

State of Emergency planning exemptions

On 8 April 2020, the Minister for Planning issued a notice for various planning exemptions during a State of Emergency. Under amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015, the Minister for Planning has the authority to temporarily override requirements of town planning schemes and existing conditions of planning approvals. A Notice of Exemption has been issued to provide specific guidance to both proponents and local governments including the City of Rockingham on a range of temporary exemptions for certain approvals and requirements. These exemptions will remain in effect until 90 days after the end of the State of Emergency declared on 16 March 2020.

As advised by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH), the exemptions remove any barriers within the planning system to ensure flexible and speedy responses to a changing crisis environment, support business and guarantee the provision of essential community services. They include:

  • medical or health-related facilities required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • truck and logistic companies needing to deliver goods but currently with restricted loading and unloading times
  • businesses seeking to adapt by changing their current approved use
  • restaurants and cafes required to sell takeaway in contravention of current planning conditions
  • people operating their businesses from residential zones
  • parking commercial vehicles on residential properties
  • a blanket two-year extension for all current development approvals
  • businesses needing to change signs
  • temporary workers' accommodation.

Updated Notice of Exemption

The new emergency provisions (clause 78H) of the Deemed Provisions allow the Minister to amend the Notice of Exemption to ensure the exemptions are achieving their intended purpose of facilitating a response to or recovery from a State of Emergency.

Given the continually evolving nature of the current State of Emergency, a review of the practical implementation of the notice has been done and it has subsequently been amended to:

  • clarify the intent of conditions relating to exemptions for:
    • certain uses and temporary works associated with these uses
    • timeframe relating to substantial commencement
  • clarify the intent and effect of the interpretation and guidance conditions
  • specify who can use each exemption
  • clarify requirements for local governments when utilising the exemptions relating to local planning policies
  • provide an additional exemption for agricultural workers' accommodation in the shires of Manjimup and Harvey.

The updated Notice of Exemption was signed by the Minister and came into effect on 30 April 2020.

The Notice of Exemption below is self-explanatory but any proponents must write to the City before undertaking any development which may be included in the planning exemption list. We will then confirm in writing if a proposal is compliant with the Minister's Notice of Exemption.

Business owners/operators are encouraged to advise neighbours about any relevant changes to their residence and the intention to operate a business to avoid any misunderstanding or negative response. Draft letters are also available below to assist in communication with the City.

The exemptions provided through the Minister's notice are temporary. The notice cannot provide a permanent exemption from a planning requirement to obtain development approval under the City's Town Planning Scheme No.2. As such, development approval will be required from the City once the exemptions in the Minister's notice expires.

Once an exemption expires, the existing planning framework requirements, including existing conditions of approval, will apply. What happens after the exemptions in the notice expire is explained in further detail on the DPLH website.

For most other developments, development approval is still required pursuant to the City's Town Planning Scheme No.2 and Metropolitan Region Scheme as required. Further exemptions though are explained above for single house additions and two grouped dwellings which automatically do not require development approval.

Major planning reforms

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.

Planning reforms

Cutting Red Tape in the Planning System

Government of Western Australia Media Statement 20 May 2020

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