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.


DAP Affected: WA Apartment Advocacy

A new DAP affected group has appeared in time for this election called WA Apartment Advocacy.

This group seeks to represent great numbers of people with positive views about Perth offering different types of homes like apartments and flats.  According to Fremantle Council Mayor Pettit’s blog they are a “new group to fight NIMBYs on apartments”.

The group may not feel they are DAP Affected yet, but they are.  We have examples where the DAP, the WAPC, the MRA and the SAT have failed to offer different types of homes in new developments.

Take for example Subiaco which has a strong and vibrant history in different types of homes.  Subiaco has flats, town houses, terrace housing, weatherboard cottages and tiny houses.

Over the past four years the DAP and the MRA have approved FIVE developments in Subiaco without a skerrick of residential housing, ignoring the local town planning scheme, the council and the wishes of the community.

These new developments have ignored Subiaco’s residential infill quota and the close proximity of at least two train stations.  Instead office blocks and retail shops were approved.

The State Government has forced Subiaco to adopt an Activity Centre Structure Plan otherwise it will do one for it.  These Plans are based boundary to boundary development, no negotiations with the community, and have the potential of entombing, overlooking and overshadowing existing apartments.  Take for example this lady’s apartment in South Perth:

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DAP Affected Communities say we do hope WA Apartment Advocacy  lives up to its name and advocates for new and existing apartment owners.  Many are facing more and more pressure from boundary to boundary developments as the State Government continues it UGLIFICATION programme of Perth’s suburbs.

Uglification document Ref:

  1. Perth and Peel @ 3.5million based on 2011 numbers which are out of date and unlikely to occur until the next construction boom.
  2. State Planning Policy 4.2 Activity Centre infill targets of 35 dwellings per hectare.
  3. Directions 2031 containment of metropolitan sprawl.


DAP Affected: South Perth Peninsular


JDAP has refused the application for a 44 Storey building at 74 Mill Point Rd. Four of the five members agreed with the council’s recommendation to refuse on various grounds that the proposal was not in harmony with the with existing buildings in terms of scale, form and setbacks. Four traffic engineers could not agree with the impact of traffic, but one does not have to be an engineer to know that is would be horrendous! 

We are pleased that the JDAP panel members really did listen to the concerns of the council and the community!! 

Even though this is great news, the applicant will take it to SAT. So there are more hurdles – but we will celebrate this step. Thankyou to everyone who came today and supported the presenters – it was a fantastic response to a marathon afternoon. 

Click on the link below for more information:

South Perth Peninsular Action Group

DAP Affected Communities note the SAT is used by applicants to undertake negotiations in secret under section 31 of the SAT Act 2004 with the DAP to mediate an outcome, which include minor changes to a development application to get an approval.

DAP Affected Communities believe this development approvals system (DAP/SAT) requires political intervention.

Councils vote to Abolish the DAP

DAP affected communities are supporting their local councils to move an in principle motion to ABOLISH THE DAP.

Mayor John Carey and Cr Julie Matheson spoke to ABC News about the current DAP system.

So far the following Councils are proposing motions similar to Mayor Carey’s of the City of Vincent:

  1. Vincent – motion passed
  2. Mosman Park – motion passed
  3. Nedlands – motion passed
  4. Cambridge – motion passed
  5. Subiaco – motion passed
  6. Stirling – motion passed
  7. Bayswater – motion passed
  8. South Perth – motion passed
  9. Belmont – motion passed
  10. Cottesloe – motion passed
  11. Claremont – motion passed
  12. Swan – working on it
  13. Peppermint Grove – motion passed
  14. Gosnells – working on it
  15. Kalamunda – working on it
  16. Melville – motion passed
  17. Cockburn – working on it
  18. Kwinana – working on it
  19. Victoria Park – motion passed
  20. Fremantle – working on it
  21. East Fremantle – motion passed
  22. Mundaring – 2009 early adopter of a motion against the DAP
  23. Serpentine-Jarrahdale – motion passed
  24. Shire of Pingelly – motion passed 17 August 2016

If you are a DAP affected community, now is a great opportunity to speak to your elected council members and request your council’s support and vote for the abolition of the current DAP process.

And if you think a change of government will abolish the DAP, think again.  Labor under the leadership of Mark McGowan has just supported City of Perth Bill in collaboration with the current government.

DAP has bi-partisan support.  It’s up to our councils to make a stand on the DAP.

DAP Affected Residents have a win

A legal bid to quash planning approval for a contentious high-rise tower in South Perth has succeeded.

Karyl Nairn and Ric Hawley argued the 29-storey tower at 74 Mill Point Road – the developer has since proposed increasing it to 44-storeys – should not have been approved by a joint development assessment panel (DAP) last year.

Well done to all concerned.

Read more about the win from The West Australian:



Developers like “discretionary clause”

Communities against the DAP are very unhappy with the use of the “discretionary clause” by panel members who are unaccountable to electors.

Discretionary clauses in local council planning schemes are there to be used by elected councillors, who are answerable to their electors.

South Perth residents are supporting Town Planning Scheme Amendment 46 to put a cap on discretion used by the DAP for height limits on new developments.

Developer backlash against Amendment 46 is mainly focused on the removal of “the discretionary element in assessing [development application] proposals”.

Currently there is no limit to building heights as long as some art work, etc is included the development.

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South Perth Supreme Court Action

Earlier this year there was an application for a  29 storey development on the Mill Point Peninsula, an area that previously only permitted buildings up to 8 storeys. On hearing of this a group of South Perth residents formed an action group “SAVE THE SOUTH PERTH PENINSULA” first up holding a public meeting where the Mayor agreed to convene a Special Electors Meeting if more than 250 ratepayers signed a petition. More than 450 signed within 48 hours. 

DAP south perth resident Vicki Redden, Craig Dermer

 Local residents are appalled and opposed to the development for numerous reasons including the height at 4 times (400%) greater than current properties, the overshadowing which will extend to the Freeway and Mends Street jetty, there has been no combined traffic studies into the congestion, pollution and parking, and the zero set back will interfere with the avenue of London plane trees which has been part of the peninsula heritage for almost a hundred years….. and a dozen other very valid reasons.

Throughout South Perth there was puzzlement and confusion about numerous mega-high rise developments suddenly being approved. Very few people had the opportunity to complain that the Council planners and JDAP were recommending and approving buildings vastly in excess of the heights which had been communicated in the Scheme consultation process. After numerous expert presentations at the first JDAP hearing the decision was deferred to glean more information from the State Architect amongst others. 

At the Special Electors’ Meeting on 6 May residents voiced their concerns about the high rise developments being pushed through without adequate consultation or forewarning.  Even the elected Councillors, expressed surprise and concern at how Amendment 25 was being interpreted and applied by the planning department and JDAP to allow skyscrapers where most people expected it would permit stepped development of 12 to 14 storeys. 

The Special Electors meeting passed 5 Motions,  calling on Councillors, among other things, to support a Local Planning Strategy – which had never been completed. On 20 May, the Council met to consider the motions and consequently the Mayor and two Councillors made representations against the development at the JDAP final meeting on 25 May. Two highly respected planning experts and a former Minister for Planning also spoke against the development as well as members of the Action Group. 

Sadly all these representations fell on deaf ears – 74 Mill Point Rd was approved. Objectors have no right of appeal to SAT on the planning merits of the application, however, in this case the DAP made fundamental errors of law which are appealable to the Supreme Court. 

Ric Hawley and Karyl Nairn, owners of apartments opposite the controversial 29 storey development filed an application in the Supreme Court to quash the decision of the Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) which granted development approval.  

The challenge brought by Karyl and Ric says that Town Planning Scheme No.6  does not give the JDAP the power to approve a high rise residential building in the Peninsula. Under the Scheme buildings in the southern end of the Peninsula may only exceed the prescribed building height of 8 storeys where the development is predominantly commercial for the purpose of promoting the South Perth Station Precinct as an employment destination. In approving a predominantly residential development which is almost 4 times higher than neighbouring residential buildings, the JDAP ignored the plot ratio restrictions in the Scheme and (among many other failures) did not take proper account of the object of the Scheme.

The Supreme Court Case against JDAP was heard in front of Justice Chaney on 10 and 11 December 2015.  Decision pending.