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.