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Planning Reform Progress

The State Government is leading the nation in planning reform with many legislative, regulatory and policy reforms and the development of clear and consistent guidance. Learn more about the progress made below.

Planning reform initiatives are a key pillar of the Government's plans to boost housing supply and meet the State’s commitment under the National Planning Reform Blueprint.

A number of changes have already been made, and work is continuing on several projects that involve extensive research/investigations, and early engagement with a range of stakeholders.

The goals and initiatives of the 2019 Action Plan for Planning Reform (Action Plan) set the path for an initial phase of reforms in 2020 and 2021. Some reforms were fast tracked to support economic recovery from COVID-19. A comprehensive, State-wide consultation program in 2021 provided feedback on additional reforms and identified the priorities for a second phase of planning reforms.

Read more about the progress made to date below.

Legislative Reforms

Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2020

The Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2020 made various changes to the Planning and Development Act 2005 and related changes to the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and the Community Titles Act 2018.

Key reforms:

  • Focus on strategic planning
  • New temporary pathway for significant projects
  • Reconcile conflicting approval processes
  • Simplify Region Planning Scheme and State Planning Policy processes

Planning and Development Amendment Act 2023

The Planning and Development Amendment Act 2023 received Royal Assent on 11 December 2023. The Act includes various changes to the Planning and Development Act 2005 focused on streamlining processes, reducing unnecessary red tape, improving efficiencies in planning processes and decision-making to support the delivery of housing and other critical infrastructure.

Key reforms:

  • A new permanent significant development pathway for projects
  • Reforms to clarify decision making in local government for single houses
  • Reforms to the Development Assessment Panel system
  • 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
  • Reform of the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC)

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

Regulatory Reforms

Planning and Development (Local Planning Scheme) Regulations 2015

  • The Planning Regulations Amendment Regulations 2020 amended the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 and Introduced exemptions for small home projects
  • Introduced a ‘deemed to comply’ check to streamline development assessment processes
  • Removed the need for planning approval for certain change-of-use applications to support small business
  • Introduced a limit of only one further request for additional information from local governments for applications that do not require public consultation or referral
  • Improve consultation and engagement processes
  • Introduced a single planning process for structure plans and precinct structure plans
  • New provisions for car parking exemptions, shortfalls and cash in lieu came into effect in July 2021

More information can be found on the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 webpage.

Planning and Development (Region Planning Scheme) Regulations 2023

The Planning and Development (Region Planning Scheme) Regulation 2023 became operational in August 2023 and apply to all region planning schemes in Western Australia.

Key reforms:

  • Introduce three streams for region planning scheme amendments (complex, standard and basic)
  • Outline the advertising requirements and factors associated with the consideration of submissions region planning scheme amendments and new region planning schemes

More information can be found on the Planning and Development (Region Planning Scheme) Regulations 2023 webpage.

Associated Regulatory Changes (2023-24)

A number of new and amended Regulations were developed to support the Planning and Development Amendment Act 2003, including:

  • Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panels) Amendment Regulations 2024
  • NEW Planning and Development (Significant Development) Regulations 2024
  • NEW Planning and Development (State Planning Policies) Regulations 2024
  • NEW Planning and Development (Planning Codes) Regulations 2024
  • Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Amendment Regulations 2024
  • NEW Swan Valley Planning Regulations 2024
  • Lands Amendment Regulations 2024

Copies of the Regulations are available at legislation.wa.gov.au.

More information can be found on the Planning and Development Amendment Act 2023 and Associated Regulationspage. 

Policy Reforms

New State Planning Policies have been introduced and various existing policies have been reviewed, improved and modernised. Find out more about State Planning Policies.

Improved Guidance

Clear, concise and contemporary guidance assists users of the planning system and includes:

It is ultimately expected this guidance will form part of the WA Planning Manual.

Operational Reforms

Various operational improvements have been made to support the legislative, regulatory and policy reforms:

  • Greater delegations for State Government agencies and local government under the Metropolitan Region Scheme
  • Coordinated preparation, implementation and management of Development Contribution Plans. · Improved coordination of referrals to State Government Departments and agencies
  • Changes to the DAP system including, reducing the number of panels to 5, permanent appointment of a reduced number of specialist members and introducing a 4 year substantial commencement period for DAP approvals
  • DAP process improvements, including modernised reporting templates, convening virtual meetings to provide more flexibility, and publishing presentation submissions and supporting information on the website to improve transparency
  • Infrastructure Development Fund introduced to help unlock a new pipeline of apartment developments in metropolitan Perth and new workers housing opportunities in regional areas