The Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2020 has been passed–with amendments–into law.

The new law empowers project owners for state-important developments to submit their applications for assessment by the Western Australian Planning Commission by way of a freshly flexible and streamlined assessment path.

A project will hold state significance when its value surpasses $20 million in the metropolitan region or $5 million in regional vicinities – thresholds that have been reduced from an initial value of $30 million in accordance with amendments negotiated with minor parties.

The new measure is temporary in nature and will stay in effect for a period of eighteen months as the state makes an attempt to revitalise its economy and streamline projects into the construction phase.

The changes also will implement an automatic two-year extension for subdivision applications that have been submitted but not approved or approved and not lapsed prior to the declaration of the State of emergency 16 March 2020.

The developments play a pivotal role in a dual-stage process by which the government plans to put into effect imperative changes to enhance construction levels in the wake of COVID-19 and to put into effect comprehensive reform to boost the planning system.

The initial stage is being resolved by way of the aforementioned amendments; the second will be resolved through other legislation, expected soon.

The changes will be supplemented by amendments to planning rules.

The government states that more than 25 proposed amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 have been specified which pertain to regional planning frameworks – such as planning schemes and policies – structural and precinct planning and development applications procedures and consultations.

It states that many of these comprise part of the government’s intended reform and come in the wake of three years of consultation.

To aid the Commission in its temporary decision-making role, a new team is being formed in the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.

McGowan stated that these developments would enable instant job creation while enhancing the planning system.

Now that legislation has been passed, a new development application process will be introduced at once to support substantial, job-promoting projects for the next 18 months to supply instant support for Western Australia’s economic recovery.