An important Government consultation paper on reforming the State’s planning system was published today.

The paper is the product of the Independent Planning Review commissioned by the Minister for Planning, the Hon. Rita Safiotti MLA, and led by eminent planning expert Evan Jones.

We conducted and sponsored a seminar with Murdoch University in February of this year at which Mr Jones introduced the reform process and spoke to its principal themes, in particular the emphasis on strategic planning.

The five key proposals are for a planning system that is:

1. Strategically-led

2. Legible

3. Transparent

4. Efficient

5. Delivering smart growth

The Government’s summary of the proposals includes the following comment:

‘Why is reform needed? There is some concern that Western Australia’s planning system has become overly complex and focusses too much on individual applications for development. Also, most people only engage with the planning system to react to a development proposal in their neighbourhood, rather than contributing to the future form of their community. The planning system has many out-of-date and overlapping policies and guidelines. As a result, decision-makers often respond to individual development proposals, rather than setting a vision for an area to which the development industry can respond. Strategic planning encourages early involvement by the community to shape their future and assists landowners to clearly understand what is the vision for their area and what is permitted on their lots. Many of the proposals within the Green Paper give precedence to strategic planning. A strategically-led system establishes a line of sight through State and local government strategies to explain how they work together to inform decision-making. Shifting from statutory-led to strategically-led planning is long overdue.’

The full published paper on the reform proposals can be found here.