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Planning approaches in Western Australia


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Planning system

Land use planning in Western Australia (WA) is governed by the Planning and Development Act 2005 (PDAct).

The WA State Planning Framework is outlined here: .

A document describing an Introduction to the Western Australian Planning System is here: .

In WA, land use and development control is by way of Regional Planning Schemes and Local Government Local Planning Schemes which define zones, reserves and other controls to implement State, regional and local government strategies and policies. These Schemes are created under the PDAct.  Regional Schemes are limited to areas where there is high development pressure, such as Perth and major centres, whereas most Local Governments in WA have a Local Planning Scheme.

The planning authorities that administer these schemes and determine applications for development approval are the WA Planning Commission (WAPC), local government Councils and, for significant proposals, Development Assessment Panels.  Subdivision is controlled by the State Government’s WAPC, rather than local government.

When making or amending Planning Schemes, planning authorities must have due regard for State Planning Policies (SPP) which provide the highest level of planning policy control and guidance in Western Australia and are also made pursuant to the PDAct.  Subdivision control also has regard for SPPs.  The principal SPP is the State Planning Framework (here: ) and there are several other SPPs including SPP 2.6 - State Coastal Planning found here: together with relevant guidelines. 

WA does not have legislation regarding coastal management or an authority specifically responsible for coastal protection. The recently released State Coastal Zone Strategy (August 2017) is a whole of government integrated framework for collective action to manage and adapt to threats and pressures along the coast.  For further reference, the Appendices include a list of roles and responsibilities, a summary of WA State legislation relevant to the coastal zone, and a list of key government strategies, policies and other relevant documents. Available here:

Climate challenges

The WA Government’s position on Climate Change is set out here:

WA has the longest coastline of any Australian state or territory – with 20,513 kilometres of open coast. The State’s approximately two million people are largely concentrated in the southwest and in particular metropolitan Perth. Climate change, including rising sea levels, is predicted to increase erosion of sandy coastlines and inundation of low-lying areas, with implications for Western Australian settlements, communities and infrastructure. The WA Government has adopted a figure of 0.9 metres for sea-level rise over a 100 year planning timeframe, applying to future coastal development.  

Other likely impacts of climate change relevant to the WA coast include:

  • decreased average rainfall in south-west WA, increased averaged temperatures statewide;
  • north-west WA can expect a higher proportion of its tropical cyclones to be more intense;
  • cyclones are also expected to occur 100 kilometres further south than their current range;
  • increased risks to coastal settlements of coastal erosion, saltwater inundation and storm surge flooding;
  • increased risk of bushfire and drought;
  • adverse impacts on fishing and agriculture, resource industries, recreation and tourism; and
  • loss of terrestrial and marine biodiversity.

Key planning policies/strategies

Key planning legislation

Relevant state-wide coastal datasets

Other relevant information