The number of land zones in Western Australia could be slashed from over 1,000 to less than 300 whilst development assessment processes would be streamlined and approval time-frames for low risk projects are set to be slashed under a newly announced overhaul of planning laws in that state.

Unveiled by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti a breakfast hosted by the Western Australia division of the Planning Institute of Australia, the 19-point action plan aims to overhaul a complex and inefficient planning system and make planning more streamlined, more consistent and easier to understand.

Under the plan:

  • The number of land zones will be slashed from 1,000 to 300
  • Development assessment processes will be streamlined
  • The need for small businesses to apply for a change of use in town centres and main streets will be abolished
  • There will be a targeted reduction in approval timeframes for low-risk project
  • Community consultation processes for development proposals will be more consistent across the state
  • There will be changes to development assessment panels to improve consistency and transparency

Details of the plan remain subject to consultation.

Saffioti says the plan would deliver faster approval timeframes and more robust consultation.

“This Action Plan is about the State Government setting the agenda that we want others to follow,” Saffioti said. “That means working with local governments and other stakeholders towards better consistency, less red tape and more transparency.”

“We have listened to long-standing concerns that the planning system needs to be streamlined and that it needs to respond to modern requirements.”