What is the DAP?

Development Assessment Panels (DAP)

The DAP legislation was introduced by the Barnett Government on 1 July 2011 with the express purpose of removing Councils and communities from the Planning decision process.

DAPs consist of 5 members, 3 appointed by the Minister and 2 nominated by the Local Authority. As a result DAPs decisions throughout the metropolitan area have, almost without exception, favoured the developer over the wishes of the community.

There is no requirement for the DAPs to be guided by submissions from the Councils or their communities. The Council, in which the proposed development is located, is required at no cost to provide the DAPs with a Responsible Authority Report (RAR) on the development proposal. The DAPs can ignore the RAR or use it if it suits its purpose. The DAPs is not required to be guided by the RAR, nor is the DAPs required to report on its deliberation process and nor are there any Third Party appeal rights.

Once a DAP has announced its decision it can only be challenged in the Supreme Court which can involve significant costs. Significantly, not even the Minister for Planning can intervene on a DAP decision even if it breaks all the rules of the Council’s local planning scheme and its policies.

Planning Minister has no powers to intervene.
Planning Minister has no powers to intervene.

 

The DAPs system is hugely biased in favour of the developer against the affected Council and community. DAP members appointed by the Minister are typically Town Planning consultants who maintain close relationships with developers and have often been directly involved in the development of Government Planning policy. As consultants they are far more informed than Councils about policies and regulations which can be favourably exploited to benefit the developer. If a Council does not have its own adequately experienced Planners, it must engage costly consultants in an attempt to defend the Council and their community against the approval of the proposed developments. The need to engage Lawyers to advise on the DAPs process further increases the costs being incurred by Councils.

The end result is a large number of developments, such as high rise apartments and office buildings, are being forced on Councils and communities even though they do not reflect the wishes of those Councils and communities and, in some cases, the Government’s own Planning policies.  These developments will dramatically alter the nature and character of these communities and they are powerless to stop them. Resolving the traffic chaos which can result from approved high residential density developments are typically left to the Council to resolve at its own cost.

DAPs are an issue which mainly affects Councils in the metropolitan area and larger country Councils.  To that end more than 15 councils have passed a motion to Abolish the DAP or similar intention.  Click here:

DAP Affected Communities is seeking a broad in principle support for the Abolish the DAP motion at WALGA’s Annual General Meeting on 3 August 2016.  Please ask your Council and your Delegates attending the AGM to support the motion:

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

For information, please contact:  Julie Matheson |e: jcmatheson@bigpond.com |m: 0409 294 495