PLANNING approval to add an R-Code (residential design codes) compliant patio, carport/garage, pool or granny flat to homes in Western Australia will no longer be needed under proposed changes to the state's planning laws.
Planning Minister John Day, who last week released the draft Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2014 for public comment, said the changes could reduce the time it takes homeowners to renovate or build by two months.
Mr Day said the draft regulations would make planning approvals consistent across all local governments in WA and streamline the planning process, saving people time and money.
"Local government planning approaches and rules can differ greatly between neighbouring suburbs, causing undue frustration and lengthy timeframes for simple works," he said.
Under the changes, small-to-medium businesses would no longer need to seek approval to change a property from one permitted use to another.
Mr Day said one-third of the 30 metropolitan councils currently required planning approval for single houses, even if they complied with the R-Codes.
"Although building permits will still be required, removing the need for planning approval for R-Code-compliant single dwellings will substantially reduce the time it takes for construction to start," he said.
The regulations also introduce a three-tier risk-based approach to local scheme amendments to reflect their level of complexity, enabling local governments to focus resources on more complex amendments.
The Property Council of Australia welcomed the announcement, with Executive Director Joe Lenzo saying the proposals to cut red tape in planning and construction approval processes will greatly assist the state in meeting its growth challenges.
"It is very pleasing that the Government has acknowledged the need to streamline planning processes across all local governments, prioritise major development approvals and eliminate unnecessary red-tape in the housing sector," Mr Lenzo said.
"WA suffers from having large numbers of disparate local government planning processes that are difficult to navigate from development to development. Introducing a common development approval language will make development more affordable.
"The proposed changes will also enable planning authorities to devote more resources to priority projects in a timely fashion.
"Eliminating planning approvals for straight forward house construction that meets all the standards is long overdue.
"WA's population is expected to continue to grow strongly and these changes are needed quickly to enable the planning and development sectors to deliver quality and timely building outcomes," Mr Lenzo concluded.
More information about the proposed Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2014 is available from the PlanningWA website at <http://www.planning.wa.gov.au/publications/7295.asp>.