Glen at Murdoch University

On 8 February 2018, Murdoch University School of Law and Glen McLeod Legal hosted a seminar on the modern idea of strategic planning and how it can be used to enhance the Western Australian planning.

The key speaker, Evan Jones, eminent town planner and urban designer, highlighted the following key points which need to be addressed to reform the current planning system.

1.    The need to make strategic planning the cornerstone of all planning decisions, in order to improve the quality and timeliness of development assessment.

2.    Opening up the planning system so that it is understandable to everyone. A key aspect of reducing the current complexity is to establish a “clear line of sight” between hierarchy of strategic, city, regional and local plans so that their relationships are clear, as well as ensuring that all policies and strategies are up-to-date. This line of sight will also clarify the state and local planning roles and responsibilities.

3.    Addressing industry interests by defining clearly development assessment pathways. Moreover, planning and infrastructure delivery should be linked to strategic planning for growth. This should operate in conjunction with a sustainable settlement pattern, which gives priority to infill development and ensures that any new areas of growth are contiguous with existing communities.

4.    Examining how technology will transform WA’s cities and regions and how the planning system should adapt and create new tools to address today’s critical confluence of data, technological, and social change.

Well-known author and academic Les Stein followed Evan’s presentation with a discussion of international best-practise in strategic planning including examples from North and South America, India and Australia. . Phillip St John, Chief Executive Officer of the City of Fremantle, then gave a pragmatic-minded speech on how strategic planning can assist in addressing topical issues in Perth, such as urban infill, sustainable housing and community engagement.

The seminar concluded with a lively panel discussion with a wide range of input from the audience consisting of local and state government planners, environmental and planning lawyers, state industry groups and town planners. Discussion points varied from third party appeal rights to control of development around public transport hubs and the necessary level of planning detail required in local precincts. Find the full conference programme here.