DAPs tweaked for more transparency

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.

DAPs Changes Superficial                                      

WA Local Government Association
Media Release

Thursday, October 13, 2016

PROPOSED changes to the Development Assessment Panel process are superficial and will not redress many of the concerns identified by the Local Government sector.
Announced October 13 by Planning Minister Donna Faragher, the proposed changes include a two day extension to the notice period for meeting agendas, extension of the scope to opt-out of the DAP process and a further notification requirement of upcoming DAP meetings to be undertaken by Local Governments.WA Local Government Association President Cr Lynne Craigie said the changes did not go far enough to redress Local Government concerns surrounding the system’s effectiveness and increased rather than reduced red tape burden on Councils.

Significant concerns

“Feedback from our members has revealed significant concerns about the strategic intent and effectiveness of the DAPs system, however the changes proposed are merely administrative in nature,” she said.

“Our call for a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis remains unheard and instead the sector is being required to undertake additional administration that should be the role of the State.”

Cr Craigie said without the cost benefit analysis, questions would remain around the relevance and effectiveness of the system with limited DAPs resources being focused on minor planning matters, rather than matters of State significance.

“The current system is getting overrun with everyday applications such as petrol stations and fast food outlets with a staggering 258 DAPs meetings held over the last financial year”, she said.

“Many of these applications currently considered by DAPs align with Council recommendations and take longer to determine than through a Council-led process.”

Token changes

Cr Craigie said WALGA had been advocating for ministerial call in powers and changes to the opt-in system to reduce this unnecessary pressure on DAPs and refocus the process with its original purpose of strategic high level vision rather than day to day development applications.

“Instead of effective review, we are faced with token changes and are being required to absorb an administrative burden on behalf of the Department,” she said.

“Whilst the sector agrees those providing submissions to a DAP application should be notified of upcoming meetings, it is the responsibility of the Department of Planning that administers DAPs rather than the role of individual Local Governments.

“We remain committed to working with the State Government on ways to deliver genuine improvements to the system, but these changes are at best superficial and will do little to benefit local communities and industry alike.”

Fremantle’s World Famous West End Again Under Threat

5 Storeys Proposed in West End (which has a 4 storey limit)

Notes from the President

THE University of Notre Dame has refurbished many buildings in the historic West End of Fremantle and have mostly done a good job.

In the past when they  sought to build something new they have largely respected the scale of the West End, and their two new buildings in Cliff and Henry Streets are three storeys in height.

Now they propose 5 storeys on the corner of High and Cliff Streets, and excuse that unwarranted height by saying the flats on top of the old Tramways Building at 1 High Street next door are also high. But the flats were an aberration built during the rush of the America’s Cup, a mistake that should not be copied; not a precedent.

a42bd1f6-f05c-44c3-8bac-60fbe86ec427Site of proposed building on right, adjacent the tall apartments

West End’s Ground Zero

The vacant site on the corner of Cliff and High Streets needs to be built on. We have waited decades for a decent building there after the former mayor’s two storey house was demolished.

But the site is so important, it is Fremantle’s Ground Zero. Whatever goes there should be high quality and fit in with the one, two, and three storey buildings on the other three corners of the  intersection.

If Notre Dame really needs a big building, they should consider building out of the West End, to distribute their student numbers throughout Fremantle instead of adding to the monoculture they have already created in the West End.

Maximum height

Notre Dame knows that 5 storeys in the West End is NOT allowed under the town planning scheme. The MAXIMUM allowed is three storeys plus possibly a 4th storey if well set back.

The rules are there for everyone to obey and Notre Dame should obey the rules. The fact that Fremantle Council has allowed other inappropriate and overscaled developments does not mean Notre Dame should join in with the developers whose only interest is money. Fremantle Council have been discussing these plans for a year with the university and they have been several times in front of the $1,000 an hour DAC (Design Advisory Committee) committee, so the fact that a year later we see a 5 storey proposal coming to the community is greatly disturbing, and simply not good enough.


The proposed design is another matter altogether and a detailed discussion can be held when the plans are published online.  An initial impression is, that like the other two new Notre Dame buildings by the same architect, the design is too ‘boxy’ and features too much glass. We are told there will be a theatre included which may be a public asset.

The Mayor keeps saying the “West End is safe.” This is another example of where it is not.

Fremantle Society Congratulates MSC

October 12,  originally posted by: Charles Pauka

MSC spends $14.5m on new home in Fremantle

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), one of the world’s largest container shipping lines, has recently unveiled its new Australia and New Zealand headquarters in one of Fremantle’s most significant heritage buildings.

After a meticulous four-year, $14.5 million renovation and addition, 11 Cliff Street, Fremantle has been returned to its former glory and will once again house a busy shipping line.


The Fremantle Society acknowledges MSC for their great contribution to the heritage of Fremantle  (Photo: Transport and Logistics News)

Managing director of MSC Australia and New Zealand Kevin Clarke said the investment demonstrated the company’s interest in the region.

Mr Clarke noted the Fremantle headquarters provided a strategic gateway to Asia and MSC’s wider global network and the company had enjoyed strong growth in its cargo import and export business during the past decade.

“The volume of goods imported into Western Australia via MSC’s cargo services has increased by 24.3 per cent in the past decade, whilst exports have risen by 37.6 per cent, giving a total growth of 30.5 per cent.

“Overall, imports into Australia and New Zealand have increased by 30.2 per cent whilst exports have grown by 39.3 per cent, giving a total growth of 34 per cent.”

128 Staff

Mr Clarke said when looking for premises to provide a suitable new headquarters for MSC’s growing operations, the company was excited by the opportunity to restore a building that had played a significant role in the history of the Fremantle port.

“In order to provide our 128 Perth-based staff with a high-quality working environment, we commissioned experienced heritage architect Murray Slavin to restore 11 Cliff Street and build a new 1082sqm adjoining annexe,” Mr Clarke said.

The building was designed by leading Western Australian architect and WWI General Sir Joseph J. Talbot Hobbs, who also designed the Weld Club, the Savoy Hotel and the Perth Masonic Lodge. It was built 114 years ago as the home of another successful export and import company – Dalgety & Co.

Colourful history

“The building has had a colourful and interesting history – always at the heart of the Fremantle business community,” Mr Clarke said.

Dalgety & Co ran its shipping and early rural enterprises from the building until 1927 when Elders bought the property and it became known as Elders House. During its history it has also been known as Barwil House, and the Wilhelmsen Building.

Australian Navy intelligence occupied the building during World War II and it has also housed media bureaus for The West Australian newspaper and the ABC.

16-year WA association

MSC has headquartered its Australia and New Zealand operations in WA for the past 16 years, with the time zone enabling staff to communicate effectively with MSC’s international headquarters in Geneva.

“Our business is all about trust and the relationships we build with our customers,” Mr Clarke said. “I am very proud of our team in Fremantle, and those based throughout Australia and New Zealand.

“MSC established itself in Australia 27 years ago and many of our customers have worked with us since those early years.”

New laws to help rub out graffiti now in force

Government of Western Australia Media Announcement

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Liberal National Government has delivered another blow to graffiti vandalism in Western Australian communities with its tough new graffiti laws coming into force.

Deputy Premier and Police Minister Liza Harvey said the Liberal National Government had delivered another major election commitment by creating a stand-alone graffiti offence which carried significant maximum penalties of a $24,000 fine and/or two years behind bars.

“The delivery of this election commitment sends a clear message to the graffiti vandals that they are committing a serious offence and will pay a high price,” Ms Harvey said.

The Deputy Premier said the Graffiti Vandalism Bill 2015 would also include:

  • mandatory clean-up orders for convicted vandals
  • confiscation of property, such as smart phones and laptops, used to record and transmit graffiti vandalism
  • strengthened Public Transport Authority (PTA) powers to ban serial offenders from buses, trains and stations
  • maintaining local government powers to enter private property to remove graffiti
  • an offence for possession of a graffiti tool or implement.

“These new laws support local councils, business and home owners who deal with the grind of cleaning up graffiti vandalism,” she said.

“Now offenders will understand the effort it takes to clean up and have plenty of time to rethink their unacceptable behaviour.”

Recording devices

The Deputy Premier said the ability to confiscate recording devices was aimed specifically at removing the graffiti vandal’s method to glorify the damage to other people’s property.

“Now graffiti vandalism will truly be the most pointless pastime in WA,” she said.

Ms Harvey said the laws strengthened what the Liberal National Government was already doing to combat graffiti vandalism, which costs WA about $8 million a year to remove.

Fact File

  • Graffiti vandals are currently charged under criminal or property damage
  • In 2007-08 there were 16,025 verified graffiti offences, dropping to 2,139 in 2015-16
  • The cost of removing graffiti vandalism 2012-13 was $7.99 million and in 2013-14, $7.84 million.  These figures have been collated from Western Power, the PTA, Main Roads, Department of Education and nine metropolitan councils

Deputy Premier and Police Minister’s office – 6552 5900


October 7 2016, by Your Herald, in News



Photo: Colin Nichol

FREMANTLE council has approved plans to turn the old weighbridge at Fremantle port into a small bar, despite Public Transport Authority concerns over pedestrian safety.

The heritage-listed building is positioned on the notoriously confusing Cliff/Phillimore Street intersection and is close to a railway level crossing, but council voted to approve the micro boozer.

“People cross the railway line to get to Little Creatures and there are countless pubs positioned near busy roads and intersections,” Cr Hannah Fitzhardinge said.

“The weighbridge is laying empty and we need to activate empty heritage buildings in creative ways—inaccessible heritage is heritage lost.

“One of the big selling points of Fremantle is its quirky experiences—having a small bar in the old weighbridge fits that ethos.”

During council question time a member of the Fremantle Society argued against the bar, saying that the explosion of boozers in the city was turning Fremantle into “Northbridge by the sea.”

Applicant David Anthony said he wouldn’t make a big profit from the venue and that it would be a cute “speak easy” for locals.

Cr Dave Hume said the Fremantle Society opposed any progress in the city and that the weighbridge had been gathering dust since Scoot Freo closed.