Government announces next tranche of planning reforms

The McGowan Government has today confirmed the next tranche of planning reform measures with a new Bill to be introduced to Parliament later this year.
  • State Government continues commitment to ambitious planning reform agenda
  • Reforms include significant development pathway, DAP changes and WAPC review
  • Legislative changes set to further reform and streamline State planning system

The McGowan Government has today confirmed the next tranche of planning reform measures with a new Bill to be introduced to Parliament later this year.

The Planning and Development Act 2005 will be amended to change the composition and operation of the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC), and establish a permanent pathway for assessment of development proposals of State and regional significance.

These legislative amendments continue delivery of the original 2019 Action Plan for Planning Reform and incorporate other initiatives identified through ongoing stakeholder consultation.

The Act will be amended to refine provisions established for the temporary Part 17 process and create a new, permanent assessment pathway that:

  • retains the WAPC - or a committee of the Commission - as the decision-maker;
  • introduces a 120-day timeframe for assessment and determination of significant development proposals;
  • refines the eligibility criteria for what is considered to be of State and regional significance; and
  • embeds the successful State referral coordination process.

With the release of the State Infrastructure Strategy last year, the Act will also be amended to redefine the focus of the Commission on strategic planning, in particular integrated land use planning outcomes that will complement the work of Infrastructure WA.

Further, it is proposed that the Commission will be reduced to 10 members, supported by a refined Committee structure and improved transparency and efficiency.

Other amendments to the Act will clarify and formalise the role of regional and district structure planning and development contribution plans.

To deliver the final reforms of Western Australia's Development Assessment Panel (DAP) system, changes to existing Regulations will be progressed in parallel to:

  • reduce the number of panels to three - one each for Perth's inner and outer metropolitan areas and the third panel to service all regional areas;
  • permanently appoint highly experienced technical experts to serve as Presiding and Deputy Presiding members on each panel, with no change to the current local Council representation proposed;
  • allow all multiple dwelling developments to be determined by a DAP; and
  • making DAPs a completely opt-in process for any development over $2 million, with standard exclusions such as single homes still applying.

Major changes through the Action Plan for Planning Reform, some expedited in response to COVID-19, have already significantly improved consistency, reduced unnecessary red tape and streamlined the planning system.

This program of work has been informed by more than five years of consultation to shape the initial reform agenda, scope each individual reform measure and provide feedback that has helped refine proposals.

Continuous engagement with the development sector, local government and industry and numerous public consultation programs have identified ways to modernise our planning system, support high quality and sustainable development proposals and ensure that people have their say early about future development in their communities.      

For more information about the proposed planning reforms, visit

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

"Ensuring there is a consistent approach to planning across our growing city is essential, and this second tranche of reforms continues our government's ambitious reform agenda.

"Cutting red tape and driving consistency will encourage more private investment, which is critical for driving our economy, creating jobs and delivering more housing choice for our community."

Comments attributed to Planning Minister Rita Saffioti:

"Since our historic reforms commenced in 2019, we have maintained three fundamental goals - to create great communities, make planning easier to understand and navigate, and ensure planning systems are consistent and efficient.

"This new Bill builds on early legislative, regulatory and policy changes delivered by our government to further streamline Western Australia's planning system and enable proponents to choose the most appropriate and efficient assessment pathway.

"Stakeholder feedback highlighted the importance of ensuring an appropriate pathway and decision maker for the developments of most significance to our State.

"The Part 17 pathway has generated more than $2.66 billion in investment and over 14,000 jobs from significant development proposals approved to date with another $2.6 billion of projects lodged for determination.

"This is in addition to more than $8.5 billion of proposals across the State received through the Development Assessment Panel pathway in the past 12-months.

"We are also proposing reforms that will restructure the Western Australian Planning Commission with a refined focus on integrated infrastructure planning to support the delivery of housing, build communities that people want to be part of and create a pipeline of development projects, jobs and economic investment for the State.

"Our reform program is creating a planning system for Western Australia that is better suited for a modern community, create a pipeline of development projects, jobs and economic investment and is easier for people to navigate with less red tape."

Premier's office - 6552 5000

Planning Minister's office - 6552 5500