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Action Plan Removes Red Tape from the Planning System

August 18, 2019

On 13 August 2019, Minister for Planning, Rita Saffioti released an Action Plan for modernising the state’s planning system, responding to concerns from industry that the system lacked transparency and could be highly inefficient.

The Action Plan addresses three key reform goals and provides 19 initiatives to achieve these goals:

A1: Collaborative planning delivers district-level priorities
A2: Urban corridors are realised with integrated planning
A3: Land use and infrastructure planning is coordinated
A4: Good design is required and design excellence encouraged

B1: Planning is strategically-led
B2: Engagement and consultation processes are consistent and effective
B3: Local planning frameworks are more legible
B4: Online planning portal improves access to information
B5: Clear and concise guidance is readily available

C1: Local planning schemes are more consistent
C2(i): Approvals are quicker and easier for small business in commercial and mixed-use centres
C2(ii): Car parking requirements in commercial and mixed-use centres are consistent
C3: Pre-lodgement advice facilitates better outcomes 
C4: Targeted reduction in timeframes for lower-risk proposals
C5: Referral processes are well defined and coordinated
C6: Structure and precinct planning tools are fit-for-purpose
C7: Development assessment processes are streamlined and outcomes-focused
C8: DAP processes are more consistent and transparent
C9: The WAPC is more efficient and strategically focused
C10: Planning activity data drives system improvement

Key outcomes for the housing industry include:

  • A voluntary ‘deemed to comply’ check for single houses (with a fee for service) to provide certainty to those building or doing additions to their home.
  • Better defined risk-based assessment streams, including a shorter pathway for ‘minor variations’ to single houses (what constitutes a variation is yet to be defined).
  • For single house development applications, a 10-business-day timeframe will be set for local government to request additional information (above that required by the regulations), after receipt of an application, to ensure planning applications continue to progress.
  • Planning instruments will be better organised and presented in a new online planning portal which will include Local Planning Policies being presented in a single location.

The details of these measures will be established in consultation with key stakeholders, to provide realistic and practical solutions for the Western Australian Planning system.

HIA has welcomed the Action Plan as a positive step for removing red tape from the housing industry and looks forward to working with government to deliver the changes.

If you are interested in being involved in the stakeholder groups, please get in touch by contacting Rachelle Gill via View the full action plan here.

Medium density design code for WA

The Department of Planning Lands and Heritage have appointed a Director to see through the development of a Medium Density Design Code for Western Australia and have commenced consultations to determine what such a code should cover.

HIA has welcomed this development, which should see a WA founded code developed in response to local market drivers and provide for clear guidance for town houses, terrace homes, small lot housing and small apartments.

If you would like to be involved in shaping the development of this code, please get in touch by contacting Rachelle Gill via 

Precinct Design Draft released 

On 13 August, the Minister for Planning released the next instalment in the DesignWA package, Precinct Design, for public comment.

The policy seeks to enable integrated consideration of land use planning and building design for infill and greenfield activity centres, intending to allow for consolidated growth, good design quality and community benefits in precincts.

Feedback is welcomed on the policy, which can be access on the DesignWA website, prior to 15 October 2019. To share your feedback with HIA, contact Rachelle Gill via