Land agency reform to start

Merging LandCorp and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority make sense, according to the Property Council of Australia WA.

LAND development agencies, LandCorp and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, will be merged as part of the state government’s ongoing bid to drive efficiencies and improve outcomes for land development and housing affordability.

The Property Council of Australia WA welcomed the merger of the state’s two biggest land development agencies into a single land agency, which will have an arm that is a specialist authority for industrial land development.

Property Council of Australia WA executive director Lino Iacomella said merging LandCorp and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority made sense because they duplicated some activities.

Mr Iacomella said merging the two would create a more streamlined process of delivering major state projects.

“The current process can be confusing because LandCorp’ s projects followed the traditional local government approvals process, whereas the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority followed an internal approvals process,’’ he said.

In a statement the government said State Cabinet recently approved the major land development agency reform process.

Ms Saffioti said across the metropolitan area and regions, the new agency would aim to strengthen communities through increased housing choice, better transport connectivity and enhancing the built and natural environment.

She said an administrative merger was set to be finalised by 2019 and would involve the appointment of common directors to both boards starting on January 1, the creation of a standing subcommittee of the joint board to manage the transition of the two organisations into a single entity, the appointment of a single chief executive officer to take effect on or before January 1, 2019 and a review of all projects, assets and liabilities to enable an optimisation of organisational and project efficiencies.

Mr Iacomella  said to be effective for projects like Metronet, the new agency had to also retain planning approvals powers.

“However it is crucial that the government also puts strict limits on the new bigger land agency so that private industry is still able to operate effectively,’’ he said.

“This is an opportunity for the government to re-set the boundaries for the operations a government land agency in the broader market.

“Over many decades the government’s land agencies have taken on work that could ordinarily be done by the private sector.

“The new land agency needs to focus on delivering state strategic projects and projects that need significant de-constraining to be viable in the regular market.

“It is also very pleasing that a specialist authority will lead the government’s industrial lands development.

“For too long the government’s industrial land strategy has been ineffective because of a lack of focus.

“It is crucial that the new industrial lands authority is backed up with adequate infrastructure funding to ensure WA’s industrial lands needs are property met.’’