You may or may not have settled back into working mode after the new year holidays, but the task of building and refining our urban environment is never finished! This year will see a raft of changes with regards to urban planning in Western Australia. To help keep up with these changes, we’ve provided you with a short summary below of key matters to keep an eye out for.


Action Plan for Planning Reform

In an effort to reform and consolidate the Western Australian planning system, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) has released and initiated the ‘Action Plan for Planning Reform’ in August 2019. This year will see a period of consultation with a range of stakeholders for a second round of amendments to be implemented during 2022, followed by relevant industry training and evaluation.

The 13th of August 2019 media statement of the Government of Western Australia succinctly summarised the key outcomes these initiatives seek, which include:

  • Slashing the number of land zones from over 1000 to less than 300;
  • Development assessment processes are streamlined and outcomes focussed;
  • Abolishing the need for small businesses to apply for change of use in town centres and main streets;
  • Targeted reduction in approval timeframes for low risk planning proposals;
  • State wide consistent community consultation processes for development proposals; and
  • Changes to Development Assessment Panels to boost consistency and transparency

Please click on the following link to find out more information.


Strata Reform

At last, key decisions will be made within the Western Australian parliament this year regarding strata tile reforms that have been years in the making! On New Year’s Eve, the Strata Titles (General) Regulations 2019 were published in the Government Gazette, paving way for the proposed legislation to be debated in State Parliament during the first half of this year. This legislation is subsidiary to the Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018, a cornerstone of the proposed strata reform.

As outlined on the State Government’s Strata.wa.gov.au website, January to June 2020 will see the proposed Strata Titles (General) Regulations 2019 be tabled to the Joint Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, and both houses of parliament. During this period, the Community Titles (General) Regulations 2020, in support of the Community Titles Act 2018, will also be further refined, finalised, and put forward to Parliament.

Please click on the following link to learn more about the proposed changes to strata in Western Australia, and their impacts.


Design WA Stage 2 – Precinct Design

Following the closing of public comments in October 2019, this year will see further development of the Design WA suite of planning framework. As the name suggests, this stage will involve focus upon the better design on precincts, particularly with regards to transport hubs and corridors, and activity centres. This will allow for a more consistent process to be undertaken by the state and local governments with respect to development the planning framework tailored specifically to the unique precincts we all know and love… and the ones which are yet to emerge!

Please click on the following link to find out more information.


Amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Scheme) Regulations 2015

The proposed amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Scheme) Regulations 2015 include:

  • Amendments of the document to provide planning framework addressing and catering for development relating to ‘Container Deposit Scheme’.
  • Providing a set of ‘deemed to comply’ requirements for development and operation of infrastructure relating to ‘Container Deposit Scheme’ which, when met, provides exemption for requiring development approval. This is particularly relevant for non-heritage places and non-residential areas and land uses.

Consultations close on the 7th of February, 2020. Click on the following link to have your say.


Residential Aged Care

This year will see a continued focus on ensuring that sufficient aged friendly development is encouraged through local and state planning legislation in order to cater for our aging population. DPLH’s Draft Position Statement proposes the following requirements:

  • Local planning and/or housing strategies specifically addressing future aged care needs, providing incentives to sufficient aged housing supply, and identifying sites for such development,
  • Local Planning Schemes recognizing and including land use categories for ‘Residential aged care facility’, and Retirement village’, and mandating their permissibility in Residential zones (where there is no sufficient reason otherwise),
  • Allow for the existing R-Codes density bonus for aged or dependent persons’ dwellings (specified in Clause 5.11 C1.4) to be applied to elements of a ‘Residential aged care facility’, and Retirement village’ proposal where they would independently be eligible under that provision.

Please click on the following link to review the DPLH’s Draft Position Statement for Residential Aged Care.


What do you think of the upcoming changes to urban and regional planning in Western Australia? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel welcome to send an email or have a casual chat about them with one of us today on (08) 9355 5484.