Development Assessment Panel Reforms and Significant Development Pathway

Changes to Western Australia’s planning system are proposed to reform the Development Assessment Panel (DAP) system and introduce a new permanent development assessment pathway for significant development.
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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 will close to new applications on 29 December 2023. More information can be found on the State Development Assessment Unit page.

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

  • Reducing the number of DAP panels from five to three (Metro-inner, Metro-outer and regional). 
  • Appointing highly experienced technical experts to serve as Presiding and Deputy Presiding members on each panel, on a full time, fixed term basis with no changes to current local Council representation. A reduced pool of sessional members will also be retained.
  • Allowing all multiple and grouped dwelling developments over $2 million to be determined by a DAP. 
  • Making DAPs a completely opt-in process for any development over $2 million, with standard exclusions such as single homes still applying. 
  • The proposal for 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. 

The Planning and Development Act 2005 (Act) is proposed to be amended through the Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2023 (Bill) to create the permanent significant development pathway. The changes to the Act will be supported by the draft Planning and Development (Significant Development) Regulations 2023, draft Applicant Guide, which provides details of associated processes, and draft Fact Sheet, which outlines the process for obtaining the Premier’s authorisation for a significant development application which are available below for viewing/download. 

Applications that may opt-in to the new pathway include (unless otherwise excluded by the Act):

  • Development valued at $20 million or more in Perth and Peel region scheme areas
  • Development 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 their State or regional importance.

The new pathway will be 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 will complement 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. 

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

Information Sessions 

The Department will be hosting a series of online and in-person information sessions about the Bill. These sessions are open to the public. Registration is essential. 

View sessions and register

Have Your Say

Your feedback on the significant development pathway is requested, to help with the refinement of the Draft Significant Development Pathway – Applicant Guide.

To have your say, complete the survey through our Consultation Hub, or complete the Feedback Form provided below and email this to Alternatively, feedback can be emailed to or posted to Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, Planning Reform, Locked Bag 2506, Perth WA 6001.

Feedback must be submitted by 17 November 2023 (5PM). Late submissions may not be accepted.

Online Feedback Form

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