The Opposition has called on the Planning Minister to explain why emergency planning powers are being extended indefinitely given they remove the rights of elected local government officials.

WA Labor is using the cover of the pandemic to make fundamental changes to planning laws that strip away the rights of homeowners and local communities.

“The State Development Assessment Unit was established during the pandemic crisis as an emergency measure to stimulate economic activity,” said Shadow Planning Minister Neil Thomson. 

“The Minister for Planning painted these broad-sweeping powers as a temporary measure for the pandemic, which would expire in January, but now we see WA Labor using its absolute majority to make it permanent.

“The fact is, this was a deliberate move by WA Labor to sneak through controversial planning laws that sideline the rights of homeowners and local communities.

“At the time, we took a bipartisan approach in response to the pandemic when this legislation was introduced.

“Although we raised concerns and put forward safeguard amendments, we were under the impression that this would be a temporary measure.”

“This announcement has the potential to subvert well-established planning laws that have taken decades and much community engagement to develop.

“The fact that WA Labor and the Planning Minister would continue to argue that this is a pandemic response at a time of $5 billion iron ore surplus and skills shortages in the construction sector, is laughable.”