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The Minister for Planning has introduced the Approvals and Related Reforms (No. 4) (Planning) Bill 2009  into Parliament. The Bill proposes to make several amendments to the Planning and Development Act 2005, in order to streamline and improve the planning approvals process.

These proposed amendments are part of a series of legislative amendments being progressed by the Government to planning, environmental, mining and other legislation. The Government is committed to improving the approvals process to ensure that the economic growth through resource and other development is not unduly hindered by the approvals process.

The proposed amendments to the Planning and Development Act 2005 will:

  • extend the use of improvements plans to land not subject to a region planning scheme, to strengthen state and regional planning;
  • enable more efficient, consistent and coordinated decision-making in development applications at local, regional and state levels through the establishment of development assessment panels;
  • provisions enabling the Minister to direct a local government to amend its local planning scheme to give effect to a state planning policy;
  • provide exemptions from planning approval for projects funded through the nation building and jobs plan stimulus package to facilitate meeting the Commonwealth's funding requirements;
  • enable the collection of data on local government development decisions to monitor the effectiveness of reforms to the approvals process.

The Approvals and Related Reforms (No.4) (Planning) Bill has passed through the Legislative Assembly with minor amendments and was introduced into the Legislative Council on Wednesday 19 May 2010. The Bill proposes amendments to the Planning and Development Act 2005 to streamline and improve the approvals process including: the introduction of development assessment panels, the ability of improvement plans to provide for improvement schemes, and Ministerial powers to direct a local government to amend its scheme to be consistent with a state planning policy.

A questions and answers document explains the reforms proposed in more detail.