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.


DAP Affected by bias reporting.

In the absence of fair reporting, DAP Affected Communities have this to say about this recent article in The West Australian dated 30-31 July 2016, page 9.

Let's have some fair reporting about the DAP, thank you.
Let’s have some fair reporting about the DAP, thank you.


Town of Victoria Park passes Abolish DAP motion.
Town of Victoria Park passes Abolish DAP motion.

DAP Affected: Swan Valley

The DAP/SAT system can be used to approve any development in Western Australia, even a X use (not permitted) under the Local Planning Scheme.

Here’s an example of a DAP RAR in the Swan area where the two Swan Councillors put up the council recommendation for refusal of an X use development application.  The three “expert” panel members voted against the council recommendation and approved the X use development using their majority vote.

X use convenience store in the Swan Valley Rural Zone
X use convenience store in the Swan Valley Rural Zone
The signage detracts from the rural character of the Swan Valley
The experts voted against Swan Council to refuse.
The experts motion to approve X use.
The experts motion to approve X use.

DAP affected communities believe the DAP approval system is unaccountable for its decisions and therefore should be scrapped in favour of system that upholds the rules and policies of a local government.

Bayswater Town Centre

The residents of Bayswater are currently facing a 7 storey development proposal for our small town centre along King William Street. Our town planning scheme was amended last year to mixed development up to 5 storeys at 20m. A developer, Yolk Property Group have come in with a proposal for 7 storeys at 20m, despite the 5 storey restriction on a site less than 1000 m2 with a maximum of 2 storey heritage buildings in the area.

In our attempts to come to grips with the impact and scale of this proposal, we commissioned a 3D walk through of the town site showing 5 storeys at 20m on the proposed site. For context, we also commissioned a view of 3 stories on the town site.

Whilst every area and site is different, you may like to view this for your reference:

#11 King William Street, 3 storeys at 12 metres high:

#9 & 11 King William Street, 5 storeys at 20 metres high:

King William Street precinct at 3 storeys at 12m high: