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.

2020Apr11ltrAManganoDAP

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.

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