FACTBase Bulletin 50 - Examining 60 Years of Strategic Planning in Metropolitan Perth and Peel

This Bulletin examines the evolution of strategic land use and transport planning for the Perth and Peel regions from 1955 to 2015. It has been produced as part of the Committee for Perth’s Get a Move On! project, which delivers a comprehensive analysis of land use and transport in the Perth and Peel region and provides recommendations for the future.

Key Findings
  • The strategic planning system in metropolitan Perth has been successful at facilitating orderly low density growth and car based movement.
  • The effectiveness of strategies which aim to intervene in the market to influence the location of employment uses, reduce low density growth, increase urban infill, encourage urban infill in accessible locations and reduce car dependence has been limited.
  • Strategies and policies to increase employment selfsufficiency/self-containment by focusing employment into strategic regional activity centres have had limited success, with key agglomerations of economic activity and employment remaining centralised, but often diffused in public transport deficient locations. Problems associated with developing strategic activity centres have been recognised since the 1980s.
  • A substantial proportion of public transport infrastructure initiatives proposed within strategic plans for Perth from 1955 to present including proposals for rail, light rail, rapid bus and ferry, have not been implemented.
  • The governance framework and legislative and policy context has become increasingly complex over time and today multiple political portfolios, government agencies and stakeholders are involved in or effect land use and transport planning policy and implementation. This has increased the potential for competing objectives between agencies and stakeholders.
  • The implementation of strategic plans for the Perth and Peel regions have relied upon policy consistency FACTBase Bulletin 50, June 2016 | 18 FACTBase Bulletin 50, June 2016 and co-ordination at a local government level. This has been recognised as an obstacle to the implementation of strategic plans for Perth since the 1960s and 1970s. Legislative amendments and regulations since 2010 have centralised more planning powers from local governments to the State level, but this has become more diffused at State level between the WAPC, Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority and the Development Assessment Panels (Maginn and Foley, 2014).
  • The statutory 1963 Metropolitan Region Scheme and 2003 Peel Region Scheme have provided strong implementation mechanisms for strategic plans, having a 30-year plus horizon for the zoning and reservation of land. The continual amendment of these schemes, generally in accordance with strategic plans and sub-regional structure plans, has given a high degree of certainty as to the land which will eventually be developed, the co-ordination of zonings and reservations in local government planning schemes, and the WAPC’s timely and effective acquisition of land reserved for future regional public purposes, using the Metropolitan Region Improvement Tax in the Metropolitan Region (not available in Peel). State and Commonwealth environmental assessment processes have lessened planning certainty in some cases (Foley and Williams, 2016).
  • Localised community resistance to strategies for urban infill and urban consolidation have been a barrier to implementation since first proposed in the late 1980s.
  • Newly elected State Governments are likely to initiate major reviews of the strategic planning framework/ changes to the strategic direction for land use and transport. This has affected the implementation period of some strategies and plans, and has and can influence the capacity for the realisation of long-term strategic goals.
  • There is inherent conflict between some core strategies and objectives for the Perth metropolitan region. Examples include strategies which promote urban infill and strategies which enable outward urban expansion; and strategies which promote the provision of a high quality road system and those which aim to reduce car dependence.
  • Despite long-term recognition of the need to integrate land use and transport planning for the Perth region, particularly since the 1990s, the Stephenson-Hepburn Plan remains the only fully integrated land use and transport plan prepared for Perth.
Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.