New planning reforms aim to get homes out of the ground faster

18 October 2023

"The reforms are a key pillar of the Cook Government’s plans to boost housing supply to align with plans recently agreed to by National Cabinet."

Major planning reforms to be introduced to State Parliament today will help get much-needed homes out of the ground faster, REIWA CEO Cath Hart said.

“The planning approvals process is often cited by builders and developers as causing significant delays,” she said.

“These reforms will cut the red tape and simplify the various processes, allowing construction to begin sooner.

“While these reforms are aimed at the building and development sectors, they are welcomed by REIWA because they are all about reducing delays and boosting housing supply.

“According to a National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation report earlier this year, WA faces a shortfall of 25,200 new properties from 2023 to 2027.

“Our population is growing strongly and the established homes market is bearing the brunt of the demand for dwellings, with listings for sale at 30-year lows, homes selling in a median of nine days, the vacancy rate at 0.7 per cent and likely to tighten further, rents rising and rental properties leasing in two weeks.

“These measures will help alleviate the shortfall of new homes, meet the needs of our population, and over time will reduce the pressure on the established market.”

The Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2023 includes five initiatives to facilitate and accelerate coordinated delivery of housing and other key infrastructure, including:

  1. A new permanent significant development pathway for major projects, including housing developments, with a timeframe of 120 days for determination;
  2. Reforms to clarify decision making in local government for single houses;
  3. Reforms to Development Assessment Panels, including:
    • Reduction in the number of panels from five to three (Metro-Inner; Metro-Outer; Regional) to improve consistency in decision-making;
    • Appoint full-time, fixed term specialist members, retain a pool of sessional members and reduce perceptions of conflict of interest;
    • Removal of previous mandatory thresholds of $20 million for the City of Perth and $10 million for the rest of the State, making the DAP system an opt-in pathway for any development proposal over $2 million (including grouped or multi-dwellings but excluding single houses and ancillary structures); and
    • Providing all community housing projects with the ability to opt into the DAP pathway regardless of the size or value of the proposal.
  4. Improving existing planning processes to cut unnecessary red tape, including removal of duplicate processes for the subdivision of land, streamlining the review of planning schemes and planning codes; and
  5. Reform of the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC).

The reforms are a key pillar of the Cook Government’s plans to boost housing supply to align with plans recently agreed to by National Cabinet.

Planning, Lands and Housing Minister John Carey said his focus was on accelerating the delivery of housing across all parts of the housing continuum in WA.

“The planning reforms will streamline existing processes, cut unnecessary red tape and build efficiencies into existing processes, ensuring that there are no unreasonable impacts on progressing planning and subsequent development of new homes,” he said.

Ms Hart said the Government was listening to industry and taking action to remedy the issues facing the property market.

“These reforms complement earlier initiatives to boost the construction industry in order to build more homes and to provide financial assistance for essential infrastructure to support developments, particularly apartment projects,” she said.

“All levels of industry appreciate the action taken to improve the state’s housing shortfall and provide affordable and diverse housing choices, including social housing, throughout WA.”

You may be interested in