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Development Assessment Panel Reforms and Significant Development Pathway

Changes to Western Australia's planning system have reformed the Development Assessment Panel (DAP) system and introduced a new permanent significant development assessment pathway from 1 March 2024.

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Changes to the DAP application pathway took effect on 1 March 2024. More information is available on the new Planning Online portal at Development Assessment Panels.

The new Part 11B Significant Development Pathway also opened to applications on 1 March 2024. Find out more on the Part 11B Significant Development Pathway page.


The 2019 Action Plan for Planning Reform incorporates various actions aimed at improving development assessment processes to make them more streamlined, outcomes focused, consistent and transparent. These actions were complemented by the COVID-19 planning reforms introduced in 2020 and 2021.

Key components of those reforms were:

  • Changes to the DAP system, including a proposal to create a Special Matters DAP to determine matters of State and/or regional significance. These changes were consulted on in March and April 2022
  • The creation of a temporary COVID-19 significant development pathway with the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) as decision maker. This was established in 2020 and closed to new applications on 29 December 2023. More information can be found on the Part 17 Significant Development Pathway page

In response to feedback received during consultation on the DAP reforms, the State Government refined the reforms and announced the following: 

  • Reduction of the number of DAP panels from five to three (Metro-inner, Metro-outer and Regional)
  • Appointment of qualified and experienced professionals, on a full or part time, fixed term basis with no changes to current local Council representation. Specific provisions will ensure that all panels continue to operate with the required numbers of specialist panel members during the transition period
  • Removing most exclusions on applications including allowing all multiple and grouped dwelling developments over $2 million to be determined by a DAP
  • Removing mandatory application thresholds making DAPs a completely opt-in process for any development over $2 million, with standard exclusions such as single homes still applying
  • Allowing development by any community housing provider to opt into the DAP system regardless of size or value (excluding single homes)
  • The Special Matters DAP is not proceeding, and a new opt-in permanent significant development pathway, with the WAPC as the decision-maker, will be created instead

These reforms are facilitated through the Planning and Development Amendment Act 2023 which amends the Planning and Development Act 2005 (Act), and was given Royal assent on 11 December 2023. The permanent significant development pathway is created through the insertion of a new Part 11B into the Act. Together with the changes to the DAP system, this became operational on 1 March 2024. The changes to the Act are supported by:

  • The Planning and Development (Significant Development) Regulations 2023
  • Significant Development Pathway Application Guide, which provides details of associated processes
  • Fact Sheet, which outlines the process for obtaining the Premier’s authorisation for a significant development application which are available below for viewing/download; and
  • Changes to the Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panel) Regulations 2011 through the Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panel) Amendment Regulations 2024

Applications that may opt-in to the new Part 11B significant development pathway include (unless otherwise excluded by the Act):

  • Developments valued at $20 million or more in Perth and Peel region scheme areas
  • Developments valued at $5 million or more elsewhere
  • Proposals not meeting the above may be authorised by the Premier on the recommendation of the Minister for Planning to lodge an application based on issues of State or regional importance that may be raised
  • The new pathway is a refined version of the temporary pathway with the necessary improvements to make it more streamlined and suitable in a post COVID-19 emergency environment. It complements the DAP reforms, which will create a wholly opt-in DAP system for any non-excluded development with a value of over $2 million, including grouped and multiple dwelling developments of any size. The changes to the DAP system will be implemented via Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panel) Amendment Regulations 2024 and supporting Ministerial Orders (reduction of panels)

More information about the change to the Act can be found on the Planning and Development Amendment Act 2023 and Associated Regulations page.

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