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.


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: Subiaco East

The DAP recently approved a development application for a 6 storey building with 72 residential dwellings on the corner of Hay and Olive Street, Subiaco.  There were 29 submissions from the community against the development for the following reasons:

Building Bulk & Scale • Too high and too imposing as viewed from Churchill Avenue;  Car Parking • Increased level of traffic on Olive Street and Churchill Avenue; Tavern & Liquor Licenses  • Negative impacts on residents; • Excessive rubbish and anti-social behaviour; • Too many licensed facilities within the area; • Compatibility with residential development within the same building; Waste Management • Concerns regarding storage of bins and waste management plans; • Noise • Concerns regarding noise during construction and noise associated with the proposed tavern;  Other • Concerns regarding impact of excavation and overshadowing; • Poor integration with heritage principles; • Mix of land uses.

Subiaco Council recommended refusal on the following grounds:

  1. The proposed building does not comply with clause 44(7) of Town Planning Scheme 4 as it would have an adverse impact on the amenity of the locality by virtue of the building bulk, the building height, and the visual impact of the southern boundary wall;
  2. The proposal does not satisfy Clause 45(6) of Town Planning Scheme 4 as insufficient car parking has been provided for the restaurant use.

In the end the DAP decided to give the community some comfort that it understood its concerns and added the following conditions to the approval:

  • Installation of art on the southern wall to soften the impact of the height and scale of the building.
  • A cash in lieu payment of $315,000 for the parking shortfall to help fund other parking initiatives by Subiaco Council, and
  • Two years to get the development substantially completed.

Of course, you guessed it, the developer is appealing the DAP conditions at SAT:

DAP decision appealed at SAT. The Post, 1 July 2016
DAP decision appealed at SAT. The Post, 1 July 2016

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

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


DAP Affected: Kewdale

Emma Young of WA Today is on the trail looking for other DAP Affected Community.

This Community written about by Emma is the industrial precinct of Kewdale, where the DAP were asked to approve a “Noxious (Waste Storage Facility)” in a prohibited area zoned for industrial use.  The DAP have supported the recommendation by Belmont Council, businesses and residents to refuse the application, but you guessed it, the applicant has appealed the decision at the SAT.

The SAT is a proven path to take to get anything approved.  The SAT can use a Section 31    to have the DAP and the applicant mediate an outcome in secret, then send it back to the DAP for approval.  This path has worked on many occasion for developers.

Here’s more of the story here:

In a twist on the usual story of Perth councils fighting controversial developments, Coca-Cola Amatil has thrown its hat in the ring to oppose a Kewdale waste facility.

Cleanaway has applied to build a waste storage facility in Belmont, WA, and the City of Belmont recommended the local development assessment panel knock it back because as a “noxious industry” it was a prohibited use in that industrial zone.

Read Emma’s report here:–in-kewdale-20160627-gpsz17.html