HHG Legal Group’s weekly legislation updates aim to provide information on new and upcoming legislation (and/or bills) as they pass, primarily focused on legislation arising as a counter-measure to COVID-19.
25 to 29 May 2020
The Environmental Protection Amendment Bill (No 2) 2020, which was introduced on 16 April 2020, was subjected to its third reading in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday 28 May 2020, and will now proceed to the Legislative Council.
You can find the bill and explanatory memorandum HERE.
The bill aims to provide an urgent response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as it relates to planning and development. The government also intends to introduce further legislation implementing a comprehensive series of public, stakeholder and specialist reviews of the planning system (which have been carried out for more than seven years), in order to create a better planning system.
The aims of the Bill are to:
- Facilitate significant development projects;
- Remove regulatory road blocks and significantly reducing red tape;
- Strategically refocus what urban and regional planning considers important;
- Enhance how development contribution funds are utilised for community benefit; and
- Provide for a more robust planning environment with a higher degree of professionalism and enforcement capability.
Furthermore, the bill will introduce an automatic two-year extension for all subdivision applications submitted (but not yet approved) or approved (but not yet lapsed) before the State of Emergency came into effect on 16 March 2020 into Part 2 of the PD Act.
Part 17 will be introduced into the PD Act – providing an expedited interim 18 month approval pathway for certain significant development applications. A ‘significant development’ will include proposals of $30 million or more, involving residential developments of 100 or more dwellings, or commercial developments with the total net lettable area of 20,000m2 or more. Part 17 encourages major proponents, by way of regulatory benefits, to submit a development application for significant development and commence construction and associated activities in the next 18 months or soon as possible thereafter. Some of these benefits include:
- More flexible application of planning rules, including the ability to consider non-planning matters in the public interest;
- Stronger degree of certainty that other approval regimes will not frustrate any development approval made under this pathway; and
- An expedited approval process by the Western Australian Planning Commission.
Hopefully the cutting of red tape and other reduced costs will assist and support small businesses. To see the full extent of the changes that have been proposed, you can read the bill HERE and explanatory memorandum HERE.
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