A new report that benchmarks the planning performance of 29 councils in Greater Perth highlights a worrying lack of strategic and statutory planning, says the Property Council’s executive director in WA, Lino Iacomella.
The report, Benchmarking Greater Perth Local Governments, commissioned by the Property Council, has found just two councils – the City of Melville and the City of Belmont – demonstrated a high level of planning performance.
Twenty-nine of the 32 local governments in the Greater Perth region undertook the self-assessment of their planning systems, with their responses benchmarked against five elements of best practice planning.
Iacomella is disappointed with the findings in the report.
“Unfortunately, the bulk of councils in Greater Perth fell well below what is expected of a best practice planning system,” he says.
“WA’s councils are very good at processing development applications, with 95 per cent of applications delegated to planning officers and 88.5 per cent of applications being processed within the necessary timeframes.
“However, our survey finds that councils are not good at strategic or statutory planning, with only a select few having up-to-date strategies and schemes.”
The report revealed that just three councils had a local planning scheme that was less than five years old, with the average age of council planning schemes being 14 years. Seven of the councils surveyed had a local planning strategy that was less than five years old.
A well-developed planning strategy is needed to ensure that communities understand a council’s vision for growth and that developers understand the planning rules, Iacomella says.
“A local planning strategy sets out a vision for the type of development that is needed in order for an area to grow and prosper. A good strategy is produced or reviewed at least every five years,” Iacomella adds.
Iacomella says the report also highlights concerns at the state planning level. Many of the councils surveyed commented that the Department of Planning and Western Australian Planning Commission were unable to process planning documents in a timely manner.
“Ultimately, many communities are being let down by the poor planning performance of their council. These councils need to lift their game.”
A good starting point would be to focus on improving the way councils report on their local planning performance, he says, as just two councils – Stirling and Armadale – currently do this.
“By monitoring and reporting performance we will be able to identify gaps in the system and work on improving it,” Iacomella concludes.
Source: The Property Council Of Australia