City welcomes planning reform

20 May 2020

In favour of measures to reduce red tape and support small business, the City of Stirling has welcomed the State Government’s announcement to introduce planning reform to parliament.

The reforms include measures similar to many initiatives already in place or soon to be adopted at the City, including a new local planning policy Council will consider next week, which offers exemptions for simpler development applications and will result in less of these types of developments having to go through a planning process. 

Mayor Mark Irwin said households and small business were the big winners in the reforms, with the proposed changes to abolish change of use approvals for several types of small business and exempting a range of small residential projects such as patios, decks and extensions from planning approvals.

“We’re really glad to see the reform support more a streamlined and simplified process for families and property owners doing minor modifications in their backyards and businesses who need to adapt their service delivery, which is more important than ever for local governments to accommodate,” Mayor Irwin said.

“The City of Stirling has championed changes to reduce red tape and became one of the first Councils to endorse a Small Business Friendly Approvals Project. A $28.9 million capital investment package will also be a key component of our Annual Budget to ensure we’re playing our role to support jobs and productivity.”

In addition to exploring how it can reduce planning approvals for simpler developments, the City has already:

  • adopted online publication of planning documents
  • streamlined processes for cafes and restaurants to add or increase alfresco dining areas to accommodate social distancing
  • recognising parking requirements are often a barrier to business, the City has adopted a flexible and standardised area-specific approach for commercial centres and precincts
  • allowed officers to approve parking shortfalls of up to 10 bays

“We realise there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach for all stakeholders involved in the planning process but we look forward to working with the State Government and industry to ensure local governments can advocate for rigorous community consultation and provide local context to inform decision-making,” Mayor Irwin said.

“It is extremely important that the community has the opportunity to engage in the development assessment process and voice their opinions.”

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