“Modernising WA’S Planning System”– Response to a green paper issued by the WA government – For public comment

A community-responsive Planning System?

The essential purposes of Development Planning Systems operated by governments are to provide on behalf of the overall community the means to analyse and forecast future human needs for all aspects of survival and welfare; and provide appropriate systems of management that can facilitate the creation of diverse living environments to meet future needs with available resources. A democratic society will attempt to achieve those purposes by ensuring that so far as available public resources allow, fairness and equity is maintained between varying and sometimes conflicting interests.

In an era of relatively slow change in local population growth and where social and industrial development is not evolving rapidly, that can be achieved easily by local consensus and a basic framework of simple regulation.

Each of those features is far removed from the realities of WA today, yet the current Development Planning System has not been restructured to accommodate drastic change affecting the community, but applied increasingly complex, centrally administered bureaucracy to a System that was devised for a completely different era.

Recently the current Government instituted a small Team Review of the existing WA System and issued a discussion-paper for public comment. This first stage of Review mentions strategic leadership, streamlining, efficiency, and transparency by increasing public engagement – all good in principle.

However, an appropriate Planning System for creating and managing urban development for the future needs to meet a much higher variety of changing needs, be highly responsive to change and constantly creating new kinds of suitable living environments. Therefore, a completely new flexible and highly responsive System is essential to make essential connections with the recent massively altered and still more rapidly changing life conditions of the community being served.

With almost all of the community increasingly living in almost ‘virtual’ daily world-connected exposure, a Planning System coordinating urban development must be far more highly responsive and creative in its entirety. Not only tolerating, but actively encouraging community-responsive engagement; supported by rewriting the Legal Framework that underpins the System.

The following Paper patiently explains dysfunctional areas of the existing System and outlines an alternative model for fundamental re-structuring of the Development Planning System that involves multi-skilled professional teamwork.

Read full paper…

Submission from Peter H Forrest (email: community23@bigpond.com)

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