Property Australia

Ideas to transform WA’s planning system

Karen Jamal Karen Jamal August 17, 2021

Planning red tape is costing Western Australia’s economy millions of dollars each year, but a new Property Council report provides 36 ideas to transform planning.


Three key takeaways:

  • Planning to Deliver: Ideas to transform the Western Australian Planning System responds to the WA Government's call in June for submissions on planning reform which would enhance transparency and consistency and reduce red tape
  • Modelling prepared by the Property Council estimates that savings in red tape costs would exceed $80 million if they were to equal just one per cent of the value of building permits in the first six months of 2021
  • Planning to Deliver identifies 36 areas for improvement – including greater certainty, concurrent approvals, stronger implementation of state infill targets and a 'digital first' approach to planning.


Against a backdrop of evolving community expectations, stretched resources, development constraints and COVID-19, the Property Council has launched Planning to Deliver: Ideas to transform the Western Australian Planning System.

Sandra_360x360“Planning to Deliver provides a clear roadmap for reform that will elevate the WA planning system,” says Property Council WA executive director, Sandra Brewer.

Brewer says a robust, well-resourced planning system empowers decision-makers and gives the community a clear future vision and channels to contribute to the process.

“Progress can only occur where the planning systems underpinning our built environment supports innovation and encourages new investment,” she adds.

The report presents reforms across five themes: a strategically-led planning framework; clarity; certainty; a strong state planning agency; and a vision that is championed and reflected across the diversity of decisions and investments.

There are ‘quick wins’ that simply require adjustments to existing instruments and processes, as well as proposals that would require a considerable work program from government.

Brewer says the report underscores the inherent strengths of the state’s planning system.

“The Western Australian Planning Commission has a clear purpose and approachable people, we have a mature infill policy and leadership from our state government. Our governments' collective appetite for planning reform is refreshing, and an unmissable opportunity for us to work together,” she says.

“As WA grows, so too will the demands on our planning system. We will need homes, schools, hospitals, retail spaces, ports, transport links and tourism precincts, and our aspiration should be to deliver these efficiently so everyone can benefit,” Brewer concludes.

Download Planning to Deliver: Ideas to transform the Western Australian Planning System