WA planning reforms set to benefit home buyers

By Fergus Halliday 31 May 2021 | 1 minute read

The Western Australian government has garnered attention from property investment advocates after beginning consultation on the second wave of proposed planning reforms.

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The McGowan government is now seeking community, industry and stakeholder feedback as it looks to further overhaul the state’s existing planning system.

The first wave of reforms – announced in the 2020 state budget – included the creation of a new approvals pathway for significant developments plus changes to the state’s Development Assessment Panel (DAP) system, which promised to improve governance and transparency requirements.

Speaking on the second phase of the state’s planning reforms, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said, “We are building on the first stage of reforms to continue to streamline the planning process, cut red tape and drive economic activity.

“Some of the major reforms we are looking to implement in this tranche include establishing a state referral co-ordination process to allow the co-ordination of state agency, utilities and departmental referrals for significant development applications.”

Potential reforms mentioned by the Minister included the creation of a Special Matters Development Panel to continue to consider state-significant developments, changes to developer contribution plans and the establishment of a “planning portal” that acts as a single source of information for the public, industry and local government.  

“Our planning reform team will be out listening and engaging over the next three months to understand what works, what needs to be changed and what the community wants from their planning system,” Ms Saffioti said.

Property advocacy groups like the Australian Property Council have already welcomed the move as a win for home buyers.

Property Council WA executive director Sandra Brewer predicted that “as the WA government looks for solutions to boost housing supply, measures that improve efficiency in planning and ensure a continuous pipeline of supply will be vital to tilting the balance back in favour of home buyers”.

“We know that a 12-month delay in project approvals can increase the cost of a development by as much as 4 per cent. These costs ultimately end up impacting home buyers and housing affordability.”

She said that the proposed reforms will remove red tape and deliver productivity gains, which will ultimately lead to a boost in housing supply.

According to her, “Evidence in other states shows that establishing a State Referral Agency improves confidence in the system and is central to driving sustained economic growth.”

“Now more than ever, streamlining planning processes will increase efficiency and help generate long-term economic activity, accelerating the contribution of the private sector to our recovery, at no cost to government,” Ms Brewer said. 

About the author

Fergus Halliday

Fergus is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He likes to write about money, markets, how innovation is changing the financial landscape and how younger consumers can achieve their goals in unpredictable... Read more

WA planning reforms set to benefit home buyers
WA planning reforms set to benefit home buyers
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