DAPs tweaked for more transparency

Extract – BUSINESS NEWS, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Author: Dan Wilkie
Thursday, 13 October, 2016

THE state government has moved to make the development assessment process more transparent, unveiling a raft of changes to the system in response to feedback from local governments and resident groups.

Development Assessment Panels have been in place in Western Australia since 2011, with the system designed to add an additional level of technical expertise to the planning process.

Changes announced today include publishing DAP agendas earlier, providing opportunities for developers to opt out if their project does not significantly impact local amenity, and more information to be provided in regard to why decisions are made.

Other changes include local governments being required to contact all those who provided written submissions to DAP applications to inform them of the meeting, and allowing developers to choose between local councils and DAPs when seeking minor amendments to existing approvals.
Planning Minister Donna Faragher  –faragher

– said the changes would ensure the decision-making process is better communicated and understood. Ms Faragher said the system had been reviewed twice to provide the best planning outcomes for the state.

All of the amendments can be seen below:

  • Provide an option to opt-out of a DAP in favour of a local government for developments, such as industrial warehouses, that will not significantly impact local amenity.
  • DAP agendas will be published at least seven days before a meeting – instead of the current five days – to provide greater advance notice to the public.
  • Local governments will be required to proactively contact each person who has provided a written submission in relation to a DAP application, to inform them of when the meeting will take place.
  • Responsible authority reports to include more information about why decisions can be made, to ensure that the decision-making process is clearly communicated and can be better understood.
  • DAP members and local governments to be provided with more governance support, where required.
  • DAP presiding members will be able to intervene in the ‘stop-the-clock’ process if parties disagree about the level of information that has been provided for an application.
  • Provide proponents with the option to choose between a local government or a DAP when requesting an amendment to a minor aspect of an existing development approval (Form 2).
  • Empower the Minister for Planning to remove DAP members who do not undertake the appropriate DAP training.
  • The maximum term of office for DAP members can be extended if a vacancy is waiting to be filled.
  • Add a reference to the DAP regulations that all Form 2 minor amendment meetings should be open to the public.
  • Changes to the DAP fee structure.

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