WA leads the nation in Planning to Prosper

The WA economy could benefit from a $340 million per annum boost through implementing a range of the ‘quick win’ planning reforms identified in the Planning to Prosper report commissioned by the Property Council of Australia.

The report, drawing upon research by independent property consultancy Urbis, demonstrates how high priority, high impact changes can boost productivity and aid post COVID-19 recovery with 39,200 additional jobs nationally, including an additional 2,500 in WA per year.

The Planning to Prosper report identifies planning reform priorities for each state and territory and the additional jobs and economic activity each would generate. The report points to the planning system’s key role in government economic recovery policies.

The Property Council’s Residential Development Council president, Andrew Whitson said that building homes and communities for Australians supports more jobs and investment than any other widespread activity in our economy.

The report identified three clear themes across different jurisdictions which could speed up approvals and deliver more housing: more transparent rezoning processes; greater accountability of agency referrals; and simplifying assessment processes for simple proposals.

Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said WA had got in early, starting a series of once-in-a-generation reforms designed to streamline planning and approvals.

“In May, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti announced a series of changes to simplify the planning system, cut red tape and increase support for small business,” Ms Brewer said. “We know that shorter assessment and approval times will allow for more housing to be built quicker and without added, costly delays.

“The changes in WA this year should deliver greater certainty and will promote well-designed, high-quality projects and desperately needed employment opportunities.

“We believe WA’s recovery pathway has been made clearer by ensuring there’s a clearly articulated process for making decisions about developments with design and economic merit.”

The recommendations in Planning to Prosper are based on stakeholder workshops held during 2019 in each state and territory with industry experts, large and small development firms, local and state government officials, think tanks and consulting firms. Many of the recommendations had already been addressed under WA’s Planning Reform initiatives driven by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti with the assistance of Parliamentary Secretary John Carey.

You can access Planning to Prosper and more information here.