Government benchmark creates discussion

Samantha Reece of PropertyESP attended the recent Property Council breakfast which launched the Greater Perth Councils benchmark report on Statutory Planning Performance.

This review covered 29 Councils in the Perth metropolitan area and rated them on:

  • The age of the Council’s Local Planning Strategy (LPS),

  • Number of amendments to the Local Planning schemes,

  • Delegation of planning approvals, and

  • Timeliness of processing planning applications.

There were certainly some very telling results.

For example, the City of Nedlands had not reviewed their local planning scheme in 31 years and had made 201 amendments in that time.

Peppermint Grove had also not reviewed their scheme in 20 years – but unlike other Councils they had made no amendments to their plan. It was also the only Council out of the 29 Councils that failed to delegate planning decisions to their staff.

Looking at an overall score, Melville achieved the highest rating (21.7/23), followed by Belmont (20.1).

However what the score card failed to consider was the level of action taken by a Council.

So City of Fremantle, which has recently approved a swathe of apartments for its CBD, scored just two points higher than Peppermint Grove because it did not have a current LPS.

There is no doubt that this report could certainly have taken into account a few more elements to measure real performance, but overall it was a good starting point and with the Property Council advising they will be conducting this review annually, I am sure that we may see a level of frenzied activity from some Councils over the forthcoming 12 months.

This report was intended to highlight where there are deficiencies in the planning system. As a result the Department of Planning did not come off lightly either, acknowledging that they had 18 LPS awaiting review by their own staff.

Overall there is room for improvement and that is the real focus of the Property Council’s report.

Let’s hope that in 12 months’ time we are not looking at the same results – but rather a series of Councils who are now focused on providing an LPS that suits the needs of their current community (and not that of their community circa 1980’s).

A full copy of the report can be viewed at

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