THE West Australian Government last week announced that its two land development agencies, LandCorp and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, will be merged progressively over two years as part of an effort to drive efficiencies and improve outcomes for land development and housing affordability.
State Cabinet recently approved Planning and Lands Minister Rita Saffioti to initiate the major land development agency reform process. The reform follows the first stage of changes to the public sector announced in April, which reduced the number of government departments by 40 per cent.
"This is the start of a major reform process to ensure the Government is equipped to create stronger suburbs with more housing choice, better public transport connections and sustainable communities," Ms Saffioti said.
"This reform will reduce duplication, and ensure we have the best possible team in Government to deliver key policy priorities such as METRONET and regional projects such as the Bunbury Waterfront."
"The new structure will also create a more transparent and accountable process that will ensure greater financial rigour is placed on the key land development activities."
The new land agency will assume responsibility for metropolitan planning activities and have a sharper focus on delivering economic opportunities in regional WA. It will also aim to strengthen communities through increased housing choice, better transport connectivity and enhancing the built and natural environment.
An administrative merger is set to be finalised by 2019 and will involve the following elements:
- The appointment of common directors to both boards beginning January 1, 2018;
- The creation of a standing subcommittee of the joint board to manage the transition of the two organisations into a single entity;
- The appointment of a single CEO to take effect on or before January 1, 2019; and
- A review of all projects, assets and liabilities to enable an optimisation of organisational and project efficiencies.
The new land development agency will also include the creation of the Industrial Lands Authority arm to streamline job-creating projects that will strengthen the WA economy.
Future tranches of the land agency reform process will investigate how the Department of Communities' housing development arm could potentially be integrated.