POST 109: WEST AUSTRALIA’S PLANNING ELITE ARE ERODING PUBLIC TRUST IN THE SYSTEM – FROM OCEAN REEF MARINA TO HIGH DENSITY IN SWANBOURNE:

Introduction

When one political party controls all the levers of planning and development, it quickly erodes public confidence.

Planning Minister Saffioti is embroiled in another development controversy. The activity involves Saffioti, State bureaucrats and Cedar Woods Developers at Swanbourne.

The West Australian Today (WAtoday) have published an article which investigates the West Australian government’s market-led proposal process and the close involvement of a Developer.

Using Freedom of Information, what the journalist found paints a picture of questionable actions and processes in a planning system headed by Minster Saffioti, involving Emails between the Department of Finance and Cedar Wood Developer.

Without going into specific details there appears to be unreliable statements coming from Planning Minster Saffioti and her role in the process.

For further reading press this link to read the excellent piece of journalism at WAtoday .

Analysis

There are many flaws in WA’s planning system.

We have produced enough evidence in other Posts, that reveal the planning system has been manipulated, so State government can implement radical changes to Perth’s low-density suburban lay out.

The Labor government plan to grow Greater Perth by an enormous 1.5 million people over the next 3 decades, with nearly 50% growth packed into established suburbs.

The WA Liberal party offer no alternative moderate growth plans or strategies for Perth. They are in full support of the Labor governments Perth and Peel 3.5 million by 2050 planning document.

Over 60% of Perth’s accelerated population change is projected to come from net overseas migration.

West Australians’ observe Perth’s suburban beach lifestyle and culture as one of the best they could experience. So why change a quality of life and living standards second to none?

The McGowan government and the previous Liberal government do not share that view.

Over the past decade WA government, either Labor or Liberal, have influenced planning laws and policies to ensure Greater Perth will proceed to much higher population density over the next few decades.

Property owners and rate payer shave been shut out of the planning process.

Western Australia operates an elitist planning system with the Minister in charge, followed by the WA Planning Commission and Development Assessment Panels.

The State government have constantly put-up barriers to democratizing the system and making it more transparent.

Labor and Liberal members of parliament continue to reject proposals that property owners, rate payers and community members should have a statutory right of appeal.

Take the Ocean Reef Marina project as an example of significant environmental clearing which the local community have no say in being able to address.

Before the clearing started, the foreshore had been officially designated as high conservation bushland and marine reserve which the local people valued and looked after.   

In 2020, Charles Smith MLC, State parliament, moved an amendment to allow West Australians a voice in planning and development, through the provision of third party appeal rights.

Under Mr Smith’s proposal, WA citizens would be able present their research and right of appeal to the WA State Administrative Tribunal. This was unanimously vetoed by the main parties.

The beauty of Mr Smith’s proposals was that community members at long last would participate in a significant role in their local area planning and development.

And critically, local government would be able to re-establish their rightly role in the planning system, as an elected local government. They would be able to appeal a DAP decision and defend the merits of their policies and defend the enforceability of their conditions.

Currently, local government plays second fiddle to unelected DAPs.

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