WA planning reforms will cut back red tape

Western Australians looking to undertake small residential projects can now undergo a simpler approval process.

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Previously, development applications to build a single house in Western Australia needed approval from elected council members.

However, going forward small residential projects – such as building a new home, or adding a fence or carport – can now be approved by authorised local government staff, opening up the application pool to more planners.

In addition, simple developments can no longer be referred to elected council members for determination unless the property is heritage listed.

In areas where councils already delegate developments approvals to their chief executive officer or planning staff, no change will take place. The reform aims to ensure consistent decision-making processes across all Western Australia council areas.


John Carey, Planning Minister for Western Australia, stated that the reform was one of the suite of planning changes that aim to “boost housing supply by cutting unnecessary red tape and streamlining planning processes”.

“These changes to local government decision-making for single houses will make it easier and quicker for Western Australians building a new home, extending or altering their existing house, or completing smaller residential projects.”

“They will provide consistency across all local governments and enable councils to focus on ensuring their local planning frameworks are contemporary and fit for purpose,” said Carey.

The latest reform follows a series of measures designed to simplify development approval in Western Australia.

In March 2024, the state unveiled a new-and-improved planning website, a new Significant Development Pathway for large Perth projects valued over $20 million, and an opt-in Development Assessment Panel system for medium-scale projects.

Additionally, the state introduced a planning exemption for code-compliant granny flats in April this year.

“Our planning reforms align with the National Planning Reform Blueprint agreed to by national cabinet and complement our government’s unprecedented $3.2 billion investment in housing and homelessness measures,” said Carey.

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