FEDERAL MP Alannah MacTiernan will host a forum seeking to wind back the powers of WA’s controversial development assessment panels.
The retiring Perth Labor MP says the DAPs — a brainchild of premier Colin Barnett — are “undermining people’s faith” in town planning, with unelected panellists exercising too much discretion and “inserting their own opinions”.
DAPs are adding storeys and density, leaving little room for public open space and greenery. Because the five-member DAPs only have two elected members on them, they are not subject to electoral accountability for their decisions.
“It’s really fraudulent, because you’ve got these people submitting their own opinions, not enforcing the policies of council,” Ms MacTiernan, a former WA planning minister and local mayor, says.
She’d prefer to see the DAPs’ discretion wound back: elected councils should make the rules and DAPs should, when deciding on applications, apply those rules without wriggle room for personal opinion. To work properly, the WA government needs to let local councils insert solid rules in their town planning scheme, instead of insisting they be so wishy-washy that DAPs and the state administrative tribunal are able to drive a truck of discretion through them.
Ms MacTiernan says she’s open to other ideas. The forum is at Forrest Park Croquet Club, 66 Harold Street, Mt Lawley, Thursday April 28 at 7–9pm.
by DAVID BELL