Minister grants emergency exemptions to planning requirements

The Minister for Planning has issued a notice pursuant to clause 78H in Schedule 2 of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 (WA), to temporarily apply broad exemptions to various standard planning requirements, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The effect of this notice is significant, because for the time being, many forms of development will no longer require development approval under local planning schemes and many standard conditions and consultation requirements will cease to apply.

A copy of the notice can be found here https://www.dplh.wa.gov.au/notice-of-exemptions.

Although the Minister has clearly issued this notice with a view to reducing regulatory burden during very tough economic times, it must be stressed that the exemptions will only apply to requirements under local planning schemes.

Particular development proposals may still require development approval under region planning schemes and the exemptions will not apply to particular redevelopment precincts.  It is also the case that these planning exemptions are heavily conditioned, which means that the exemptions will only apply if the corresponding conditions are met.  Further, these exemptions will have no bearing upon other statutory requirements, such as the need to obtain a liquor license or an environmental approval.

Despite having the underlying objective of streamlining the planning process, these exemptions will require proponents to carefully consider the scope of their planning rights and the types of approvals that are actually required, because the overall exemption framework is not straightforward to interpret.  If there is any doubt as to whether an exemption applies in a particular scenario, consideration should be given to obtaining legal advice.

Please feel free to contact the Lavan Planning, Environment and Land Compensation team if you have any questions in relation to these planning exemptions.