The Post Newspaper is the only paper that reports on the impact and community concerns when the DAP overrides local concerns.

Since the Minister for Planning approved her own version Local Planning Scheme 3 for the City of Nedlands, the developers have taken their opportunities to force infill where it’s not wanted.

Community concerns are ignored by the DAP and this is sadly just another example.

Revised plans for a seven-storey tower of 28 mostly short-stay apartments at 135 Broadway were approved by the DAP on April 3 despite the strong objections of neighbours. “To build selfishly like this, only to advance the developer, is kind of stealing.”




Democracy stolen

Letter to the Editor, Post Newspapers, by Cr Andrew Mangano of Nedlands

11 April 2020

The recent flood of development applications into the City of Nedlands has highlighted just how undemocratic is the development application process for large developments using  development assessment panels (DAPs).

Firstly, a DAP is made of up of two elected members of a council and three non-elected people selected by the state government. It is obvious the government appointees effectively decide the outcome of any DAP development application. This is exactly what happened last week for the 135 Broadway development, and will happen again and again in the future.

Secondly, the responsible authority report (RAR) to the DAP is written by a council’s administration, is not approved by the elected members, and in many cases is not even presented to the elected members. The elected members have virtually no influence on what is written in the RAR and it often does not reflect the views of the elected members or the community.

Thirdly, the concept of design review panels being thrust upon councils by the Office of the Government Architect allows unelected, unaccountable people to give opinions on a large-scale development that may contradict the community or elected members’ views on a development, as happened in Subiaco.

Fourthly, the Planning Minister can decide the outcome of a development application contrary to the community, or even the DAP itself. Finally, with the advent of online DAP meetings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the community is now excluded from all meetings. It is no wonder that communities across WA have no faith in the DAP system, created by the last Liberal government and being used by the current Labor government, more often than not, against the wishes of the community that is affected by a development.


Minister creates uncertainty

The Minister for Planning Rita Saffioti is using the COVID-19 State of Emergency to change planning rules to avoid community consultation on development applications.

The community will not be consulted if an approved development application requires a two-year extension to commence development.  The Minister is offering an automatic blanket two-year extension without community consultation. Ref Business News, 9 April 2020

2020 Two year extensions approved by minister

Local governments are encouraged by the Minister for Planning to fast track and approve “non-controversial developments” to avoid public scrutiny but provides no definition on what those developments are.  Ref Minister’s letter to WALGA President, 25 March 2020

These changes to planning rules may appear innocuous but the Minister has form in ignoring community consultation and approving local planning schemes and a high-rise development ignoring the controversial impacts on communities. Ref Subiaco and Nedlands‘ Local Planning Scheme changed by Minister for Planning, April and December 2019.  Civic Heart 39 storeys approved by Minster for Planning, 7 February 2020

2020 Civic Heart approved by minister

The Minister for Planning can’t be trusted to act in the interests of the community.  These changes to planning rules should be vigorously challenged by the community and elected members of local government.

The role of Mayors, Presidents and Councillors is to represent the electors of their districts (s. 2.10 of the Act), not the Minister for Planning or the WA Planning Commission.  Elected members have a duty of care to their electors, especially the most vulnerable during this COVID-19 State of Emergency.

Please write to your elected members of local government and remind them of their obligations during this time of uncertainty.

All development applications should be in the public domain and listed on the local government website and in print in a local community newspaper so that the community can be consulted and decide if a development application is controversial.


Supreme Court dismisses residents’ application.

17 July 2018

ALFRED COVE residents go to the Supreme Court

When residents question due process and rules based on a Council decision or a decision of the DAP, WA Planning Commission or the MRA, their only option is to ask the Supreme Court, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars $$$$.

The residents of Alfred Cove asked the Supreme Court the question of the City of Melville’s decision to advertise its business case for a $25 million project without the name of the lessee for the proposed Wave Park project.  The Council signed off on the lease in April 2017, without addressing this question.

SFPA chairman Clive Ross said the Supreme Court judgement found that Melville Council did not comply with parts of the Local Government Act.

“The City failed to list Urbnsurf as a party and this was acknowledged although it was said that the issue lies with the Local Government Minister,” he said.  However, the case was dismissed because the application was put in late, awarding costs against residents and ratepayers of $65,000!

To read more about this case, click here>>>

West Perth

A 17 storey apartment block behind heritage listed Edith Cowan House at 31 Malcolm Street, West Perth was approved by the DAP without any representation from the Perth City Council.

A group of neighbours objected to the development saying the $25 million block would be out-of-place in that spot.  It will be 40 metres high, hovering over Edith Cowan House.

Simon Withers, whose mother has owned and lived in the house on the east side of Edith Cowan House for 40 years, said the project did have support.

The development was approved on 17 May 2018, without Council representation, by the DAP panel 3-0.  A planning officer’s report is not Council representation!

Elected members of Perth City Council were dismissed in March 2018, with two commissioners appointed in their place.  One of the commissioners is Eric Lumsden who made the rules of the DAP system, rules that were made to diminish the role of elected members at the DAP.  He has not been appointed by the Minister for Planning to represent Perth City Council on the DAP as of June 2018.

Lot size 1,331m2, 60 dwellings and 74 car parking bays.


Post Newspapers, 2 June 2018

DAP Affected Como

On 17 April 2015 the Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) at a third hearing, in a 3/2 vote, approved development at the Como Hotel which includes replacing the existing BWS Bottle Shop with a Dan Murphy’s mega liquor outlet four times larger.

The Como Hotel is owned by the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALHG). The JDAP decision inexplicably reversed two previous decisions (15 August 2014 and 17 February 2015) rejecting the development.

Many in the local community have been appalled and disillusioned with the outcome of the decision, especially considering a “full house” of opposition including:

  1. The South Perth Council Meeting on 24 March 2015 passed a unanimous motion that “[The] Council does not support the development of large format liquor outlets at the Como Hotel site”;
  2. The Responsible Authority Report by City of South Perth, opposed the development on the grounds of added traffic congestion, difficulties with vehicular access, insufficient parking, and social impact on amenity;

To read more click here:  Opposing Dan Murphy at Como Hotel

Contact:  Greg Benjamin on 08 9367 7269 for more information.

Responsible Authority Report (RAR)

If your Council’s Responsible Authority Report does not include a Council Recommendation, ask why?

Page 4 of the RAR template includes a Council Recommendation. Call a Special Council Meeting and include a recommendation in the RAR.

Julie Matheson

A Responsible Authority Report (RAR) contains a two recommendations from a local government.  One from a planning officer and the other from the Council regarding a DAP application valued at $2 million or more.

The Development Assessment Panels (DAP) was introduced to Western Australia on 1 July 2011, for developments worth $3 million or more to replace planning decisions made by elected councillors and planning officers under delegated authority.

DAP values 2011

In 2015 the rules were changed to a lower value of $2 million or more.  The mandatory value threshold increased to $10 million.

Responsible Authority Report (RAR)

Under DAP Regulations 2011, Reg 12 a Responsible Authority must provide a report to the DAP in a form approved by the Director General.  See the latest version here:  Responsible Authority Report (RAR) template – Form 1 (1) 2017

These new DAP regulations referred to the term Responsible Authority but was silent on its meaning.

Many Mayors and elected councillors have been led by…

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Inglewood residents called NIMBYs to shut them down

Ref.  Kate Leaver, Community News, 13 December 2016

INGLEWOOD residents have gathered in opposition to an “excessive” six-storey development on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Beaufort Street, neighbouring the heritage-listed police station.

Inglewood resident Roger Hill said locals would welcome a “well-designed” mixed use development but the current plan “missed the mark”

“This proposal falls considerably short of the ideal, being of a height and scale that is incompatible with its location,” he said.

“The development fails to provide sufficient practical and usable car parking spaces.

“They should contribute to traffic management measures that restrict traffic generated by the development from filtering through Eighth and Ninth avenues, which are residential streets.”

However, project architect Kim Doepel said the plans had been amended twice to address concerns of residents.

“The owner has agreed to the increase the lane width by one metre and another metre for landscaping,” he said. “It is time the authorities started to listen and approve projects like this for the many, instead of the one or two selfish nimbys who try and dictate outcomes against the majority.”

Name calling like NIMBY is used to shut the public down from having their say.  When jobs are scarce, the public can’t use their voice for fear of losing their employment, their public standing or their business.

We should all thank those who are prepared to be a voice for those who can’t.

DAP Affected: Bassendean

A BASSENDEAN councillor has called Development Assessment Panels (DAP) “rigged” following the approval of 10 units for Walter Road East, Bassendean.

Councillor Paul Bridges said “The DAPs are rigged with three technical representatives and two council representatives so they always have the numbers to out vote the will of the democratically elected councils’.

The three expert panel members decided that Clause 67 (b) could be ignored because the proposed  changes to the Local Planning Scheme were not sufficiently advanced to cover the loophole the developer was trying to exploit.  This decision is flawed and requires an investigation.

DAP Affected Communities say:  This DAP decision is exactly why the community want powers given to the Minister to overturn DAP decisions which ignore Town Planning Schemes and local policies.  There are more than 50 DAP decisions approving outrageous developments without any scrutiny or accountability.

The Minister in her recent statement (LPGA, 13 Oct 2016) claimed that developments “must comply with the town planning scheme and not deviate away from it” yet she lacks any power to enforce compliance or overturn a decision such as this one.

Click here to read the article in Community News 19 October 2016

Dodgy DAP system rigged, Walter Road East Bassendean
Dodgy DAP system rigged, Walter Road East Bassendean