Majority of local governments in Greater Perth miss performance mark: PCA

Majority of local governments in Greater Perth miss performance mark: PCA
Majority of local governments in Greater Perth miss performance mark: PCA

Most local governments in Greater Perth are poor planners, while slow processing times at the state also hold up local projects, according to a new report by the Property Council of Western Australia.

The report, Benchmarking Greater Perth Local Governments, which measures the planning performance of local governments in 29 of Greater Perth’s councils, highlights a lack of strategic and statutory planning amongst councils.

“The results of our benchmarking report are generally disappointing with only two councils – the Cities of Melville and Belmont, showing a high level of planning performance,” Property Council WA executive director Lino Iacomella said.  

After the self-assessment by the 29 local governments, they were benchmarked against five elements of a best practice planning framework including: strategic planning; statutory planning; delegation of planning approval to professionals for determination; timeliness of processing planning applications and performance reporting. 

“A local planning strategy sets out a vision for the type of development that is needed in order for an area to grow and prosper. A good strategy is produced or reviewed at least every five years. The best local planning strategies are those that are developed in consultation with the community  and ultimately get implemented as there is already a level of community buy-in.”  

The report also highlights concerns at the state planning level. Many of the local governments, that took part in the self-survey, said that the Department of Planning and Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) are unable to process planning documents in a timely manner.

The report said that local governments would have done better had the Department and WAPC were more efficient.

“Ultimately, many communities are being let down by the poor planning performance of their council. These councils need to raise their game to ensure that communities can grow and thrive and build a vibrant Western Australia.”

Of the 29 councils surveyed, key findings from the report include:

• Only two councils – the Cities of Melville and Belmont, have a high level of planning performance.

• Only seven councils surveyed have a local planning strategy that is less than 5 years old.

• Only three councils have a local planning scheme that is less than 5 years old with the average age of council schemes being 14 years old.

• Only three comprehensive scheme reviews have been completed by the City of Armadale, City of Cockburn and City of Kwinana.

• On average, 95 percent of all applications are being delegated to planning officers.

• 88.5 percent of applications are being processed within the required timeframe of 60 days.

• Only two local governments publicise indicators of local planning performance.

• Only 24 percent of local governments believe that the Department of Planning and WAPC could meet required processing timeframes.

The report suggested that while WA’s councils were good at processing development applications with 95 percent of applications being delegated to planning officers and 88.5 percent of applications being processed within the necessary timeframes, strategic planning was not up to the mark. It suggests the councils to focus on improving the way they report on their local planning performance. 

Local Government

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