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Western Australia will be implementing a range of exemptions to local planning requirements and providing a blanket two-year extension for all current development approvals.
The changes and exemptions are a state initiative to support the COVID-19 response and have been enacted through the exercise of new state of emergency powers by planning minister Rita Saffioti.
The minister now has the authority to temporarily override requirements and conditions set out in local planning schemes and existing conditions in planning approvals.
This has led to the blanket two-year extension applicable to all current development approvals to assist in job-creation projects during the recovery stage.
Exemptions to planning approval have also been granted across essential local community services.
These include: medical or health-related facilities required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, truck and logistics companies needing to deliver goods who have been restricted in their 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 businesses from residential zones, and the parking of commercial vehicles on residential properties.
The changing of signage and provision of temporary workers’ accommodation is also now exempt from planning approval.
The notice also temporarily waives the requirement to provide up to 10 car bays and/or cash for non-residential development.
The state government noted that these exemptions are in place for temporary situations only.
Brick-and-mortar applications are not included.
It’s also expected that usual approvals will need to be sought in most instances within 90 days of the lifting of the state of emergency.