Premier McGowan IMAGE Anna Warwick
Property Council CEO Sandra Brewer, Premier Mark McGowan, Housing Minister John Carey, WA Planning Minister Rita Saffioti IMAGE Anna Warwick
  • The WA Govt announced an $80M fund to help developers offset Infrastructure costs.
  • Premier Mark McGowan announced a 120-day timeframe for DAP determination.
  • DAPs will become opt-in, so proponents can choose state or local government.

The WA State Government is taking steps to help boost development in the state, with new reforms and financial support that will help get more projects off the ground.

The WA Government announced an $80 million Infrastructure Development Fund to help property developers offset the cost of water, sewerage and electricity connections. This will greatly help developers, who do not receive payment until completion of their projects, and must outlay all costs themselves.

While they will also establish a permanent pathway for the assessment of relevant applications of state and regional significance.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said that the Government will also introduce a 120-day timeframe for development assessment and determination.

A three-part reform

The three big changes are;

  • A new permanent assessment pathway that will make an assessment and determination in 120 days. This replaces the SDAU, retains the WAPC as the decisionmaker, embeds the state referral coordination process and is available to state and regionally significant projects.
  • Making DAPs a completely opt-in process for any development over $2 million.
  • Introducing a $80 million headworks fund to unlock housing projects. The Fund will help developers offset the costs of providing water, sewerage and electricity services to new housing developments, improving the economic feasibility of these projects.

As part of the three-part reform, the government will reduce the number of Development Assessment Panels (DAPs) to three – one for metro inner, metro outer, and a third for regional Western Australia – which will be in place next year.

Premier Mark McGowan said “Following extensive consultation, today I can confirm some government initiatives that should streamline the town planning system.”

“We’re establishing a permanent pathway for the assessment of the relevant applications of state and regional significance. “

“The consolidation of DAPs will not only create efficiencies but also ensure consistency of decision-making.

“DAPs will be approved by a team of technical experts with appropriate qualifications, supported by local representatives” he said.

WA Premier Mark McGown and Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer IMAGE PCA
Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said, “A slowdown in project delivery is highly problematic as Western Australia faces a dire need for more supply to house its growing workforce.” IMAGE PCA

DAP opt-in options

The Premier said the next phase involves making DAPs a completely opt-in process, so alternatively, proponents can seek approvals for their own local government.

Currently, development proposals of less than ten multiple dwellings are excluded under the DAP system and the government is now removing this requirement.

Multiple dwellings of any number will now be assessed by a DAP as long as they have a value of $2 million or more.

Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said, “The Property Council and its members are strong advocates for the important role DAPs play in ensuring housing supply.”

“This will ensure the development community will have more opportunity to access independent, depoliticised decision making more readily, and limit the ability of elected members to block development projects against the advice of expert planning practitioners.

“A slowdown in project delivery is highly problematic as Western Australia faces a dire need for more supply to house its growing workforce.”

Headworks fund

Ms Brewer said, “In our 2023/2024 Pre-budget submission we called for a headworks fund which could enable projects previously considered unfeasible to progress.

“A headworks fund will unlock land through offering zero-interest loans to cover the costs of delivering headworks, ensuring that developers are not required to debt-fund projects, thus improving the project’s feasibility.”

“More apartment projects coming online will protect WA’s enviable housing affordability and is essential to WA’s ongoing success as an economic powerhouse.”

“With Western Australia crying out for workers amidst labour shortages and WA’s population set to grow by 1.5 per cent by 2026-27, economic growth can only be secured if we can continue to house the required workforce” she said.

WA development on the rise

The Premier said that the government has approved projects worth a collective AU$2.66 billion to date through the Path17 pathway, which represents 14,000 jobs.

Another 31 projects, representing a further $2.6 million in investments, have been lodged for determination.

In addition to this, $8.5 billion in applications have been lodged through the Path17 pathway this year and remain unprocessed.

Mr McGowan said more apartment projects coming online will protect WA’s enviable housing affordability and are essential to the state’s ongoing success as an affordable place to live.

The Premier said he was encouraged by the Blackburn developments already taking place in the state after driving through Subiaco and Peppermint Grove.

“They are amazing. Downsizers from the area are buying into them and so are young people who want an exciting lifestyle,” he said.

“We need to attract more people to Perth because it’s the best city in Australia, and we need to continue to provide housing for them” the Premier said.

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