The State Government’s highly controversial Development Assessment Panels (DAPs) planning approval process is under increasing scrutiny.

DAPs were introduced by the Minister for Planning in July, 2011, “he said they would streamline the planning process, make the system more flexible and be more transparent.”

There were warnings by planning experts about the dangers of DAPs before they were introduced.  Here is a excellent paper by Denis MacLeod, a leading planning lawyer, at a Local Government forum in October 2009.

Then one year after the system had been introduced, in 2012, Ian MacRae, President of Local Government Planners Association, delivered this paper at the UWA.  More information about DAP concerns can be found here on Councillor Julie Matheson’s page.

Unsurprisingly, we are now seeing a growing number of residents and Local Government Councillors from all over Perth up in arms and speaking out, over what they see as an inherently flawed, undemocratic system that favours developers and gives them no say or right to appeal (third party appeal rights) against inappropriate developments in their areas that negatively affect them.  Note here SAT say

On the Thursday the 29th of July, 2015, a public meeting was held in Como to discuss the DAP system.   Following is a copy of the media release from the event and some of the media that followed;

Dap R

FRIDAY 30 July 2015
City of South Perth Residents Association
Scrap the DAP! Sack the SAT! 

Over 130 residents from South Perth and surrounding areas including representatives from Point Peron, Mandurah and Serpentine Jarrahdale, attending a public meeting on Thursday night at the Como Bowling Club. The tenet of the meeting was ‘Scrap the DAP’ and ‘Sack the SAT’ following residents’ incredulity at recent DAP decisions.

Of great concern were the rights as landowners and residents, being severely destroyed by the unelected, unaccountable, unrepresented and misguided Development Application Panels (DAPs) in Western Australia.

16 ministers, members and leaders from local, state and federal agencies were invited (see list attached) but only Lynn MacLaren from the Greens party, attended along with the later arrival of Steve Irons from the Liberal party showing support for the residents.

13 residents spoke about major issues with the DAP, the lack of third party appeal rights and the derogatory use of the word NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). Speakers represented Alfred Cove, Dalkieth, West Leederville, Maylands, South Perth, Cottesloe, Serpentine Jarrahdale, Mt Hawthorn, Mandurah and Subiaco – each with disturbing details of the lack of foresight and empathy displayed by the DAP in their deliberations, ignoring residents’ concerns about height, set backs, historical heritage guidelines and traffic management/infrastructure.

A relaxation clause in the local policy in regard to the height of a new development was taken out of context,’ stated Ms Vicki Redden from South Perth, commenting on one of DAPs most recent abominations.

Relaxation in this context meant one or two storeys above the norm but for the DAP to allow a 400% increase is a mockery’, she added.

Other examples were given where the DAP had even contravened traffic reports from the Main Roads Department, lack of infrastructure, amenity and set backs. The list was endless.

Seven motions [see below] were put and carried and will be delivered to the Hon Kate Doust along with the video of the meeting. An online petition is being organised.


Setting the Scene for DAP affected communities Geoff Pearson
West Leederville – Approved in secret Dr George Crisp
Dalkeith – Forming an action group Colin Latchem
Alfred Cove – 84 units on a 24 unit site Marina Hansen
Maylands – The importance of conservation Deborah Chinnery
South Perth – 29 storeys ignores the rules Vicki Redden
Cottesloe – Ignoring public amenity Cr Jack Walsh
Serpentine Jarrahdale – We won! Merri Harris
Mt Hawthorn – State Govt makes its own rules Richard Morup
Como Hotel – No traffic planning Greg Benjamin
Mandurah – Primary School v McDonalds Susanne’ Browne
Subiaco – Legal challenge Angela Hamersley
A response to NIMBYISM Geoff Pearson


Lynn MacLaren – MLC South Metropolitan Region

Steve Irons – Federal Member for Swan,

Sue Doherty – Mayor City of South Perth,

Heather Henderson – Mayor City of Subiaco,

Ron Norris –  Mayor Town of Mosman Park,

Max Hipkins – Mayor City of Nedlands


  1. That the meting pass a vote of ‘No Confidence’ in the DAP system and the unrepresentative and unaccountable processes on which it is based and run


  1. That the meting vote in favour of returning planning control and development application decision-making to our locally elected representatives.


  1. That the DAP-Affected Communities make representation to the relevant State Government Departments, Agencies and Policy-makers outlining their objections to the DAP system, as presented at tonight’s meeting, demanding an end to ‘one rule for developers and another for the rest of the community’ and that the DAP system be scrapped.


  1. That a copy of the video from tonight’s meeting be sent to the Honorable Kate Doust, Chair of the current Parliamentary Inquiry into DAP legislation, for her committee to consider as part of their deliberations.


  1. That a working group be formed ready for the next election to work to have the DAP system abolished.


  1. That the meeting vote in favour of third party appeal rights for interested parties, to be achieved by a change to the Planning and Development Act 2005.


  1. That the meeting pass a “No Confidence” vote in the SAT system.


————– END —————

Though many from the media were invited, only one reporter attended, ‘Rhiannon Shine’ from The Post Newspaper.  Her story was on the front cover on the 1st of August ;

Dodgy DAP System Slammed and part 2

Dodgy DAP system slammed Post 01 08 15

Dodgy DAP system slammed pg 68

Following that in the 8th of August edition there were two responses to the article in defense of the DAP system.   One on page 12 by from the Director-General, Department of Planning, Gail McGowan;

DAPs strike balance between expertise and local knowledge

Gail McGowan letter Post 080815

The other was by David Caddy on page 2, who described himself as “a teacher of statutory planning at UWA”. Mr Caddy failed to mention in the article that he works for developers;

DAPs, SAT must stick to local and state planning policies

David Caddy letter Post 080815

These opinions pieces prompted a number of retorts and more articles in the following weeks edition of The Post on the 15th of August, 2015,

Front page (15th Aug);

DAP bias exposed Post 150815 p1

DAP bias exposed Post 150815 part 2 pg 17

Then on page 16 is an excellent review of the DAP system by Lloyd Gorman;

Time for DAPs to come Post 150815 p16

On page 17 – Under the spotlight;

Under the spot light Post 15 08 15 p17

Then on page 18;

Expert says Wedge's OK not DAP's to give Post 150815 p18

Wedg's OK part 2 Post 150815 p76

On page 2 a letter by Ian Ker;

Haven't they seen what DAPs have done Post Ian Kir 150815

On page 12, letter by Angela Hamersley one of the speakers at the DAP meeting from Subiaco;

Let me tell planning students about DAPs Post 150815

Page 12, Third parties should be able  to appeal against developments

Third parties should be able to appeal Post 150815

Page 24, letters by Sally Pyvis and Jack Walsh, who also spoke at the DAP community meeting mentioned at the top;

DAPs: the state government’s flawed planning mechanism

DAP rules allow planning policies to be ignored

DAP letters Sally Pyvis & Jack Walsh Post 150815 p24

Page 24 continued, Five easy steps for developers

Five easy steps for developers Julie Matherson Post 150815 p24

Here is a link to the ‘Scrap the DAP’ on-line petition.  Please sign and share far and wide and help put an end to Barnett’s undemocratic planning laws that is wreaking havoc everywhere.

Anyone who isn’t quite sure about what Planning is supposed to be like in a democracy, might like to read this papers by The Honourable Wayne Martin AC, Chief Justice of Western Australia;

State Administrative Tribunal (SAT)
Conference to mark 80 years of Town PlanningLaw in Western Australia –
The Importance of Town Planning Law


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