State Development Assessment Unit

Find out more about the role of the State Development Assessment Unit in this new assessment pathway.


The Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) is supported in its decision-making process by a new team, the State Development Assessment Unit, within the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.

Read the Chairman's statement

This team of experienced planners is part of the Department’s Land Use Planning Division and will receive and assess all proposals on behalf of the WAPC. Its activities include:

  • preliminary meetings with proponents to determine whether a proposal meets the ‘significant development’ eligibility criteria
  • engaging with key stakeholders, including local government and the public consultation about proposals
  • assessment of development applications, including design review and referrals as required to other agencies such as Main Roads Western Australia or the Environmental Protection Authority
  • recommendations to the WAPC, which will make a final determination. 

WAPC (Part 17 significant development) agendas and minutes

The early engagement phase of the new pathway is designed to provide advice, and the opportunity to address any issues prior to formal lodgement of the development application.

The State Development Assessment Unit will work to coordinate all referral and consultation processes simultaneously, ensuring that the referral process is efficient and without extended timelines.

Application process

The State Development Assessment Unit application process is as follows:

Intent to lodge

Initial discussion with SDAU to gauge suitabilty for pathway. If suitable, proponent encouraged to seek formal pre-lodgement advice (Form 17A).

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Pre-lodgement Advice (Form 17A)

Form 17A request submitted for pre-lodgement advice, along with concept plans and preliminary planning and technical reports > Design review by State Design Review Panel (up to three reviews) >  SDAU engages with stakeholders and provides preliminary planning advice to applicant, identifying key issues > SDAU confirms information needed from proponent for formal application (Form 17B).

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Lodge Development Application (Form 17B)

Completed application form (Form 17B) submitted along with land ownership details, application fees, development plans, planning report and supporting technical documents > SDAU assesses the application, with public and stakeholder input.

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Part 17 Application Assessment

SDAU undertakes public consultation and referral to agencies, local government and Minister for Planning > Final design review by State Design Review Panel > If required, applicant submits revised plans and additional information > SDAU completes assessment and prepares report and recommendation for WAPC determination meeting.

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Determination by WAPC

Meeting agenda published with SDAU recommendation > Deputation request period > WAPC meeting held to determine application, open to public > Minutes published and applicant, local government, referral agencies and submitters notified of outcome.

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Amendments (Form 17C)

Proponent can apply to amend approved development (Form 17C) > SDAU may undertake referral to agencies, local government and Minister for Planning, and in the case of major changes, public consultation > SDAU assesses application and makes recommendation to WAPC > Major changes determined by WAPC in public meeting with deputations > Minor changes determined under delegated authority.

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Clearance of Conditions

Proponent submits Clearance of Conditions matrix and documentation specified in conditions, along with final working drawings > SDAU checks that documents satisfy conditions set out in Development Approval  > Stakeholder referral takes place > Clearance provided by SDAU on behalf of WAPC > Clearances can be staged subject to WAPC approval.

Note: Diagram indicative only. Assessment process tailored to requirements of individual proposals and might involve fewer or more steps.  

About the new assessment pathway

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What is a significant development?

To be considered as a significant development under the new legislation, proposals must have an estimated value of $20 million or more in Perth’s metropolitan area or $5 million or more in regional areas. These thresholds exclude warehouses.

Any development proposal can also be deemed to be of State or regional significance by the Premier, on recommendation of the Minister for Planning, and referred to the Western Australian Planning Commission for determination.

Who will be the new decision-maker for significant development proposals?

The Western Australian Planning Commission is the new decision-making authority for all development proposals of State significance. Applicants may choose to use this new assessment pathway or continue with the existing process of assessment by local government and a Development Assessment Panel.

The new Planning and Development Amendment Act 2020, enables the WAPC to accept and determine applications for significant development proposals for a period of 18-months.

What is the State Development Assessment Unit?

The State Development Assessment Unit is a dedicated team within the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage that will support the Western Australian Planning Commission with the lodgement and assessment of development applications.

How does the Minister for Planning refer the application to the Premier?

An applicant would be required to write to the Minister for Planning requesting consideration as a significant development by referral.

The Minister (with assistance from the Department) would receive and undertake an early assessment of the application to determine whether the proposed development would likely be of State or regional significance.

The Minister for Planning would then write to the Premier seeking approval for referral.

If the Premier agrees, the Premier formally notifies the Western Australian Planning Commission in writing.

The State Development Assessment Unit would then contact the applicant to arrange for a pre-lodgement appointment, or formal lodgement of the application.

Is the new assessment pathway available to applications that have been previously refused?

Applications that meet with eligibility criteria and have been previously refused, may be lodged as a new application.

Lodging an application

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How do I lodge an application?

The Department will first verify that the proposed application meets the eligibility criteria for this assessment pathway. Prior to lodging an intent to lodge form, please contact a member of the SDAU team to discuss your proposal and your intentions. 

Online intent to lodge form

Should the development proposal be well advanced, the Department will require the applicant to complete an application form (Form 17B). Applicants will be provided with an access key for lodgement of all documentation and details for application fee payment.

Form 17B - Application for development approval (PDF 205 kb)

Which forms/documents do I need to lodge?

Depending on the stage of the process, applicants will be required to complete one of the following forms:

  • Form 17A – Pre-lodgement Advice Request to facilitate early discussions regarding your application, prior to lodgement
  • Form 17B – Application for Development Approval to formally lodge your development proposal for determination by the Western Australian Planning Commission
  • Form 17C – Application to Amend or Cancel Significant Development Proposal in the event that you need to amend or withdraw your application.

In addition to the relevant application form, applicants will need to provide a broad range of technical documents which will be discussed and qualified during pre-lodgement. This could range from detailed plans and drawings, to traffic management reports, heritage reports, environmental assessments and proposed management plans.

A member of our planning team will provide applicants with an access key for our Large File Transfer facility to facilitate lodgement of the application and all relevant documentation.

How do I make an amendment to my application?

Form 17C – Application to Amend or Cancel Significant Development Proposal has been developed in the event that you need to amend or withdraw your application.

The Online intent to lodge form can also be used by applicants to indicate that they wish to provide more information to support their application.

Online intent to lodge form

What is included in calculation of an application’s value?

The value is based on estimated total construction cost (excluding GST).

Is GST included in the estimated cost of development?

The development value for eligibility is exclusive of GST.

What fees apply?

A fee will be required to be paid in accordance with the published fee schedule.

Fee schedule - State Development Assessment Unit (PDF 606 kb)

Fees are exempt from GST.

EFT Transfer details will be provided to an applicant prior to lodgement of an application.


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What is the assessment process on this new pathway?

  • Initiation – the significant development assessment pathway can be initiated in one of two ways, either by meeting the eligible development thresholds or by referral from the Premier, on recommendation of the Minister for Planning.
  • Pre-lodgement – in the design and planning of significant developments, all applicants are advised to engage key stakeholders and the community as early as possible in the process. Pre-lodgement will include design review, preliminary consultation with referral agencies, and may include stakeholder engagement by the applicant.
  • Lodgement – proponent formally lodges the development applicant and pays the application fee. An application is only deemed compliant when the Department has received all relevant information, the appropriate application form and payment of your application fee.
  • Consultation – public advertising, notification to adjacent property owners and referral to local government and regulatory agencies. The application will also be considered by the State Design Review Panel during this process.
  • Reporting – review of submissions received and preparation of a recommendation report for the Western Australian Planning Commission.
  • Determination – the Western Australian Planning Commission determines the application.
  • Finalisation – applicant advised of decision and next steps, including process for clearance of any conditions of approval, refinements to the proposal or options for appeal.

What consideration will be given to local planning scheme requirements, policy and local concerns?

The Western Australian Planning Commission must have due regard for the local planning framework in determining the application. However it will also undertake a more strategic assessment to consider non-planning related matters in the public interest and the broader economic, social and environmental benefits that can be delivered for the State.

This new assessment pathway will enable the State Government to prioritise projects that have investment certainty, are well designed and are ready for construction to commence. 


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Will applications be advertised for public comment?

Yes. A public comment section will be established on the Department's website for the community to view and provide feedback on applications that are open for consultation.

There is no prescribed timeframe for public consultation however it is expected applications will be advertised for a minimum of 28 days.

Under the new legislation, applicants are also required to install a sign on the site, with an illustration of the proposed development, which will remain in place for the duration of the consultation period.

What information will be made available online?

Detailed plans and drawings of the proposed development and a collection of supporting technical reports will be made available during the public consultation period.

What agencies are consulted on the application?

The Western Australian Planning Commission will refer the application to a number of regulatory agencies for comment. This could include the relevant local government, Environmental Protection Authority, Main Roads Western Australia, Public Transport Authority, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and others.

Will the recommendation to the Western Australian Planning Commission, and the determination be publicly available?


Information will be published on the Department website including

  • agenda papers for Western Australian Planning Commission meetings at least five days prior to the meeting.
  • significant development decisions including reasons.
  • where the matter is deemed to be of significant public interest, a broad public statement may also be appropriate.
  • unconfirmed minutes of Western Australian Planning Commission meetings are also available within 10 working days of the meeting.


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What form will decision-making meetings take?

Significant proposals will be considered by the Western Australian Planning Commission as part of normal Commission business.

How can I present at a Western Australian Planning Commission meeting?

Applications to make a presentation at a Western Australian Planning Commission meeting are to be made in writing using the application form on the Agendas and minutes page.

This form must be submitted no later than 2:00pm, three (3) business days prior to the commencement of the meeting.

What decisions can the Western Australian Planning Commission make?

The Western Australian Planning Commission may make one of the following decisions:

  • approve the application subject to conditions
  • approve the application subject to minor modifications and conditions
  • defer the application
  • refuse the application.

Is the decision of the Western Australian Planning Commission final?

Once the Western Australian Planning Commission has made a determination, the applicant may request that the determination is reviewed through the State Administrative Tribunal.

Who is responsible for administering any conditions of approval on an application?

The Department, on behalf of the Western Australian Planning Commission, will work with the applicant and relevant regulatory agencies to ensure all conditions are met following approval. This would include any prior to construction commencing and others for the life of the approval.

Does the applicant have a right of appeal?

Yes, the right of appeal through the State Administrative Tribunal applies as normal.

Page reviewed 20 December 2021