CONTACT US TODAY (08) 9221 1991

What is a Rezoning/Scheme Amendment?

Region planning schemes address strategic regional and state-wide planning issues. They contain objectives, set out broad land use zones, and designate areas required for regional purposes such as open space and infrastructure.
Read moreFrequently Asked Questions

There are currently three region planning schemes active in Western Australia. These are the Perth Metropolitan Region Scheme, the Peel Region Scheme and the Greater Bunbury Region Scheme.

Local planning schemes address planning and development issues at a local level.  They contain controls including zoning, density and development standards such as building setbacks and heights. In areas subject to region planning schemes, local governments are required to ensure their local planning schemes are consistent with the relevant region planning scheme.

From time to time, it is necessary to alter the zoning of land or alter specific development controls under a local planning scheme or a region planning scheme to enable certain types of development. This process is referred to as a “rezoning” or “scheme amendment” process.

The steps to be followed and the requirements to be met when considering a scheme amendment are set out in the Planning and Development Act 2005 and the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015.

The process of amending a region planning scheme differs to the process of amending a local scheme and each is discussed below. Notwithstanding their differences, both processes involve a period of inter-agency consultation and public advertising.

Amendments to a region planning scheme

An amendment to a region scheme is treated as either a “major” or a “minor” amendment.  The type of amendment is determined by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) upon receiving a formal amendment request.

As indicated by its name, a major amendment generally involves a substantial change(s) to a region planning scheme. Major amendments are also referred to as “substantial” amendments. In contrast, minor region scheme amendments are considered relatively straight forward in their nature.

The steps involved for a minor amendment differ to those for a major amendment. Whilst both processes involve referral to the Environmental Protection Authority and a period of public advertising, major amendments require the consent of the Minister for Planning before advertising can commence and involve a longer advertising period (3 months). Major amendments must also be laid before both Houses of Parliament for 12 sitting days, during which time they could be subject to dis-allowance.  Major amendments ultimately require final approval from the Governor following a recommendation from the Minister for Planning.

In contrast, minor amendments do not require the consent of the Minister for Planning before advertising can commence and the advertising period is shorter (60 days). Unlike major amendments, minor amendments do not need to be presented to Parliament and are ultimately determined by the Minister for Planning not the Governor.

Download the flowcharts explaining the steps involved in each type of region scheme amendment process.

Amendments to a local planning scheme

A local government may resolve to amend its local planning scheme under its own initiative or at the request of a landowner or group of landowners. A local government may also be directed to amend its local planning scheme by the Minister for Planning. This may occur in situations where a local planning scheme is inconsistent with a region planning scheme or where a local government has resolved not to initiate an amendment to its local planning scheme but the Minster has determined, following a request for intervention from an applicant, that the amendment should proceed.

An amendment to a local planning scheme is treated as either a “basic”, “standard” or “complex” amendment.  The type of amendment is determined by the relevant local government upon receiving a formal amendment request. The WAPC may become involved in determining what form an amendment should take in situations where an applicant disagrees with the decision of a local government.

 

Basic
“Basic” amendments may involve the correction of an administrative error in a scheme or may involve a modification necessary to ensure the scheme is consistent with the Model Scheme Provisions, State Planning Policy, structure plan or region planning scheme. These types of amendments are considered relatively ‘straight forward’.
Standard
“Standard” amendments are those which are consistent with a local planning strategy, region planning scheme or structure plan or those which would have minimal impact on land in the scheme area and not result in any significant environmental, social, economic or governance impacts.
Complex
“Complex” amendments include those which are inconsistent with a local planning strategy, involve a development contribution area or relate to development that is of a scale, or will have an impact, that is significant to development in the locality.
The steps involved in each process are slightly different. All local scheme amendments require referral to the EPA however basic amendments do not require public advertising, unless the Minister for Planning directs advertising to occur.  Complex and standard amendments both involve a period of public advertising however the advertising period is shorter in the case of a standard amendment.

Download the flowcharts explaining the steps involved in each type of local scheme amendment process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a scheme amendment?
Determining whether or not a scheme amendment is necessary requires a careful and thorough review of the relevant local or region planning scheme and expert advice should be sought. Rowe Group is experienced in handling the full range of scheme amendment processes.  We can provide advice on the options available to you, recommend the most appropriate course of action, prepare the formal documentation on your behalf and manage the process from start to finish.

Scheme amendment proposals often require input from specialist consultants such as engineers or environmental scientists.  Rowe Group can assist in engaging and coordinating these consultants on your behalf.

How do I apply for a scheme amendment?
A formal request to amend a local or region planning scheme must be prepared before it will be considered by a local government or the WAPC. The request typically takes the form of a written report, addressing the full range of relevant statutory and strategic planning considerations. Importantly, a scheme amendment request must contain sufficient town planning justification to demonstrate why the amendment is necessary.
What happens if my scheme amendment request is not supported?
A scheme amendment request can be rejected at various stages in the process.  In some instances, the WAPC or relevant local government may resolve not to initiate the amendment, in which case the amendment does not proceed.  If this occurs in relation to a local scheme amendment, it is possible to seek the involvement of the Minister for Planning however the Minister will only become involved in particular situations. Rowe Group can provide further advice in relation to these situations.

A scheme amendment request may also be rejected or modified later in the process once initiation has occurred.  In some instances, scheme amendment requests have been rejected or modified by the Minister for Planning in the final stages of the process.

Who determines whether a local scheme amendment is a basic, standard or complex amendment?
Upon receiving a formal amendment request, the local government must determine whether the amendment is of a basic, standard or complex nature and explain the reasons for its decision.

If a landowner has requested the local scheme amendment and does not agree with the decision of the local government as to the nature of the amendment, the landowner may seek an opinion from the WAPC. If the WAPC has a different view to the local government, the local government must comply with the opinion of the WAPC.

Who determines whether a region scheme amendment is a minor or a major amendment?
Upon receiving a formal amendment request, the WAPC must determine whether the amendment is a minor or a major amendment. A minor amendment is an amendment that, in the opinion of the WAPC, does not constitute a substantial alteration to a region planning scheme.
How long does the scheme amendment process take?
The timeframe for amending a local or region planning scheme differs depending on the type of amendment proposed and therefore the process that must be followed.  For example, a major amendment to region planning scheme involves considerably more stages than a basic amendment to a local planning scheme and is therefore more time consuming.

Whilst each of the different amendment processes involves specific steps and stages, not all of the stages are time limited.  For example, there is often no time limit on the Minister for Planning determining whether or not to approve an amendment. Timeframes can also be affected depending on the complexity of the amendment and the specific issues involves.  Amendments that involve sensitive issues may require additional consideration before a determination is made.

Rowe Group’s experience means that we can provide advice on likely timeframes and assist in determining what stages of an amendment process may require additional input to ensure delays are avoided or minimised.

How much does a scheme amendment cost?
Amendments to local planning schemes are subject to administrative fees and charges under the Planning and Development Regulations 2009. These fees are generally paid following the lodgement of a scheme amendment request, once the local government has determined the amendment type and has estimated the time required by staff to process the amendment.  Under the Planning and Development Regulations 2009, a local government that receives a request for a local planning scheme amendment must give the applicant an estimate of the lodgement fee payable. Applicants may also be required to pay for the advertising costs associated with a local scheme amendment.

Region scheme amendments do not currently attract a lodgement or other administrative fee from the WAPC.

Rowe Group’s professional fees for tasks such as initial planning investigations, report preparation and monitoring vary depending on the nature of the scheme amendment.  We provide obligation free quotations for a range of amendment related tasks and would be happy to provide you with an indication of fees for your next project.

Who can I contact for more advice?

Scheme amendment proposals can be complicated and expert advice is often required.  Rowe Group’s Planning Team are specialists in dealing with the full range of scheme amendment types and can assist with any query.

Contact Details

a. Level 3, 369 Newcastle Street
Northbridge WA 6003
p. +618 9221 1991
f. +618 9221 1919
Business Hours: 8.00 am - 6.30 pm M-F