COVID-19 Planning Reforms

Amendments to the Planning and Development Act 2005 were accelerated in 2020 to support the State’s economic recovery from COVID-19.


The State Government accelerated a number of measures within the Action Plan for Planning Reform as part of COVID-19 economic recovery plans, together with a proposal to establish a new development application process for significant projects.

A program of major legislative, regulatory and policy changes were implemented to create a more robust planning system and support Western Australia’s economic recovery.

The reform initiatives implemented are detailed below.

Media Statement

Planning and Development Act 2005 Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panel) Regulations 2011 State Planning Policies

Key reforms

  • Focus on strategic planning
  • New process for significant projects
  • Reconcile conflicting approval processes
  • Simply Region Scheme and State Planning Policy processes

Key reforms

  • Cut red tape
  • Support small business
  • Deliver key planning reforms through local planning frameworks
  • Improve consultation and engagement processes


Key reforms

  • Improve governance
  • Clarify processes
  • Ongoing ability to deal with significant projects and significant precincts
  • Greater consistency and transparency


Key reforms

  • Finalise Precinct Design Policy
  • Finalise Medium Density Policy
  • Review of R Codes Volume 1 (residential)
  • Bring forward reviews of policies guiding Activity Centres and Liveable Neighbourhoods


Reform Measures

These reforms have removed barriers to enable development, created and protected jobs and supported business, and include: 

  • a temporary, new approvals pathways for significant developments
  • streamlined planning and referral processes
  • greater clarity and consistency across the planning system
  • improved transparency
  • reductions in red tape.


A first tranche of legislative reforms to help improve our planning system, introduce robust and responsive measures and support rigorous and streamlined assessment of planning applications, were addressed through amendments to the Planning and Development Act 2005, and changes to some subsidiary legislation. 

Due to its volume and complexity, and the urgent need for reforms to support economic recovery from COVID-19, these changes will be undertaken in several tranches. The first tranche received Royal Assent on 7 July 2020.

Media statement - Historic planning reforms cut red tape and open WA for business

View the Amendment Act



Amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 support legislative changes an enact many of the efficiencies and red tape reduction measures to support the State’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information visit the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 page.

Development Assessment Panels

Changes to the Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panel) Regulations 2011 are currently being scoped. These changes will create a new Special Matters Development Assessment Panel, further reduce the number of geographic panels from the current five-panel configuration to no more than three, and provide for greater transparency and consistency in the DAP system.

Draft Regulations for the changes proposed to the DAP system will be available for consultation in the coming months at


A new State planning policy to guide development around precincts including METRONET stations was enacted in February 2021.  A review of the Residential Design Codes has also been completed.

In parallel with the legislative and regulatory reforms, the Department will continue to progress the: 

  • development of new, draft Design WA policies for medium density and liveable neighbourhoods; and
  • review of State planning policies relating to hazards such as bushfire management and coastal erosion.


Fact sheet: Planning reform for significant developments
Planning Reform: Special Matters Development Assessment Panel
Planning Reform: Cutting Red Tape in the Planning System
Page reviewed 20 September 2021