WA policy update carves out more space for ECEC
Developers and local governments will have greater clarity about planning requirements for new schools across Western Australia following yesterday’s release of a revised planning policy, which places the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in a position of high priority when designing new schools.
As some readers may be aware, it is common in WA to have preschool settings located on the site of schools, with many children beginning to attend primary schools from four years of age.
Feedback is being sought from the general public after a review of a 1998 planning policy against current planning practice, with the aim of improving strategic planning for the development of future primary and secondary schools in the state.
The review and updating of this policy was a commitment taken by the McGowan Government during the 2017 election campaign, with the policy release also featuring Educare, another key election commitment, to provide a site for a childcare centre in the planning for new public primary schools.
The draft policy sets out new requirements for identifying land of a suitable size, location and condition to meet current and future educational and community needs, and outlines a clear, more equitable formula for development contributions – either in the form of land or funding – for the provision of public primary schools where new residential developments are proposed.
WA planning minister, Rita Saffioti said that the provision of contemporary guidelines and the setting of clear expectations at the planning stage “will resolve supply issues and give greater certainty to developers and residents on the future delivery of schools in their local communities”.
Public comments on the draft Operational Policy 2.4 Planning for School Sites can be provided at https://consultation.dplh.wa.gov.au until 5pm on 19 October 2020.