Revision of Developer Contribution Requirements – Draft State Planning Policy 3.6

On 23 September the Minister for Planning announced proposed changes to State Planning Policy 3.6 (SPP3.6) along with complimentary draft guidelines and model scheme text provisions.

The current version of SPP3.6 has been in force since 20 November 2009. It was designed to provide a modern guide for developer contributions and was designed to address the rising cost of infrastructure in greenfield and infill developments. These considerations remain relevant to the revised SPP3.6.

The revisions to SPP3.6 seek to clarify the contribution land developers are required to make towards community infrastructure, in exchange for development approval. In particular, the draft seeks to provide additional support and information to assist in interpreting and implementing developer contribution plans in a uniform manner across all local government areas.

When comparing the revised SPP3.6 to the current SPP3.6, the objectives of the policy and the majority of its contents remain the same. However, there is a greater focus in the revised document on contributions being formulated in an ‘open and transparent process’, with clearer mechanisms put in place for regular reviews. The accompanying draft model scheme text provisions and guidelines also emphasise changes in the operation of DCP’S so that the requirement for contributions and process for amendment are more clear.

The guidelines for the revised SPP3.6 are substantial in what they cover, providing detailed context to the operation and implementation of developer contribution plans. It would be noted that while the revised SPP3.6 seeks to alter the technical provisions, it does not overhaul the guiding principles that have underpinned developer contribution in Western Australia.

The draft model scheme text provisions are not part of the revised SPP3.6 policy itself, as they were in the past. What has been released for comment are text provisions to determine whether there is an industry desire to have the text incorporated as part of the Deemed Provisions in schedule 2 of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 (WA) or whether they should simply remain model provisions that local governments may adopt in their local planning schemes. For those making submissions on the revised documents, consideration of whether the provisions should be in a model or deemed format is very important. In Lavan Legal’s view, consistency across all local governments via incorporation into the Deemed Provisions, would be beneficial in improving certainty and provide a firm basis for consistent decision making to occur.

Developer contribution plans play an important part in the early provision of infrastructure that in turn facilitates high quality development outcomes. Clear guidance and mechanics are important to provide certainty, not only for decision makers, but also land owners and developers.

As noted above, comments on the revised SPP3.6 are due by 25 November 2016. Submissions should be provided to or Development Contributions Policy, Western Australian Planning Commission, Locked Bag 2506, PERTH WA 6001.

If you have any questions about the revised SPP3.6 and the potential impact it may have on your development, or would like assistance in making a submission on the proposed changes, please contact Craig Wallace on (08) 9288 6828.

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.