THE NEW REGULATIONS ARE NOW GAZETTED

The Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 (WA) (the New Regulations) were gazetted on 25 August 2015 and will take effect on 19 October 2015. The New Regulations are a major part of WA’s planning reform agenda and make changes to local planning schemes and scheme amendment processes.

When the New Regulations take effect on 19 October 2015, the existing Town Planning Regulations 1967 (WA) and associated Model Scheme Text (Old Regulations) will be repealed and replaced by the New Regulations, including new Model Scheme Text.

The New Regulations also introduce ‘Deemed Provisions’ which will automatically form part of every local planning scheme in WA, whether or not they are incorporated into the local planning scheme text. Introduction of these Deemed Provisions is one of the most significant aspects of these regulatory reforms and will operate to provide greater consistency between local planning schemes in Western Australia. To the extent there is any inconsistency between a Deemed Provision and a local planning scheme (LPS), the Deemed Provision prevails.

KEY ‘DEEMED PROVISION’ CHANGES

The following key aspects of WA’s agreed reform initiatives will be implemented by the Deemed Provisions when the New Regulations take effect:

  • The structure plan preparation and approval processes will be streamlined, including the identification of a single determining authority, the WAPC, for approval of structure plans. Decision-makers will be required to have due regard to an approved structure plan when considering a development or subdivision approval application but will not be bound by them.
  • Standard framework provisions with respect to the development approval process, local planning policies, activity centre plans, local development plans, heritage protection and delegations will be introduced across local governments.

OTHER SIGNIFICANT CHANGES

The following further changes will also be implemented upon the New Regulations taking effect:

  • Local governments will be required to include the new Model Scheme Text in all new or updated local planning schemes, to achieve greater consistency in the schemes across WA. Any alteration to the model provisions will require the Minister’s approval. A key aspect of the new Model Scheme Text is the inclusion of consistent reserves and zones and the amendment of the land use definitions.
  • The local planning scheme preparation process and requirements will be streamlined to remove some of the existing regulatory burden, including simplifying the advertising and consultation requirements.
  • The scheme amendment process (for both LPS text and zoning amendments) will be simplified, streamlined and more flexible through the introduction of multiple risk-based amendment streams classified as either ‘complex’, ‘standard’ or ‘basic’. Different timeframes and process requirements (e.g. regarding advertising and consultation) will apply, depending on the stream.
  • The New Regulations require local planning schemes to be reviewed every five years. Earlier drafts of the New Regulations would have led to the immediate trigger of this review requirement for a very large number of schemes across WA . However amendments made to the gazetted version of New Regulations allow more time by stating that schemes gazetted more than five years ago will be taken to have been published three years before the date the New Regulations come into operation. These amendments will be in conjunction with anticipated changes to the consolidated procedures under the Planning and Development Act 2005(WA).

Some consequential amendments to the Planning and Development Regulations 2009 (WA) relating to structure plans and activity centre plans will also commence on 19 October 2015. These amendments are set out in the Planning and Development Amendment Regulations 2015 (WA) which were also gazetted on 25 August 2015.