State Administrative Tribunal

Development & Resources

SAT reviews decisions made by State Government and local governments regarding a range of matters concerning development, subdivision, notices, fisheries, water, rating, land valuation, land tax and soil and land conservation.

It is also the primary decision maker hearing cases regarding compensation for compulsory acquisition of land.

Which enabling laws give SAT powers to make decisions?

To view the Acts that give SAT the and the Development and Resources Stream power to make or review decisions please see the list of enabling legislation.

How will my application be handled?

An initial directions hearing takes place before a member within about three weeks after an application is filed.  The proceedings are then actively case managed by the member.  This hands-on process enables SAT to quickly identify the key elements of the dispute and to direct it toward a prompt and cost effective resolution, whether by settlement between the parties facilitated by a member as mediator or conducting a compulsory conference or by a SAT imposed determination.

If you are applying for a review of a decision of an original decision maker, refer to Practice Note 2 - Review Proceedings for important information on practice and procedures.

More information on practice and procedures for applications made under the Land Administration Act 1997 is outlined in Practice Note 3 - Original Proceedings.

Reviews under the Aboriginal Heritage Act

The following protocol was agreed by an exchange of correspondence in August 2010 between the President Justice John Chaney and Hon Dr Kim Hames MLA, Deputy Premier and Minister for Indigenous Affairs, in applications for review under s 18(5) of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA):

At the first directions hearing, the presiding member will discuss with the respondent what orders are required to be made to obtain information from the respondent that would identify the Aboriginal groups consulted in the decision-making process under review.

The practice of SAT is then to consider whether it should require either party to give notice of the proceeding and the decision sought by the applicant to any Aboriginal groups consulted in the decision-making process by the original decision-maker. SAT will have regard to the terms of s 38 of the State Administrative Tribunal Act 2004 (WA) in relation to its power of joinder in this regard.

Are there special requirements for town planning?

If your application involves a development valued at less than $250,000 (or $500,000 if it is a house or a subdivision of a lot to create no more than three lots) it is considered a Class 1 application.

Otherwise, your application is a Class 2 application.

Class 1 applications are treated more informally than Class 2 and different fees apply. The procedures and fees are explained on the application form. Use the SAT Wizard to view the application form. See Applications.

Mediation instead of directions hearings

SAT encourages the use of mediation to resolve disputes or to identify and narrow issues. About 75% of applications in the development and resources area are resolved by facilitative dispute resolution, principally mediation. This avoids parties having to participate in a final hearing or decision on documents in which SAT would impose a win/loss result. Facilitative dispute resolution is also likely to be quicker and cheaper.

Consistently with the SAT's objectives to act as speedily as possible and to minimise the costs to the parties, President Justice John Chaney has approved a trial of inviting parties to jointly write to SAT at least two days before the first directions hearing and request that their matter be referred directly to mediation without having to attend the directions hearing. If SAT agrees that the matter should go directly to mediation, it will advise the parties of the mediation date and any programming orders, and the parties will not have to come to the directions hearing.

The results of the trial will be reviewed in due course. The trial does not include class 1 planning applications (developments worth less than $250,000 or $500,000 in the case of a single lot and subdivisions of three lots of less), because these matters are already listed for a one hour first directions hearing in which mediation often takes place.

The practice is explained more fully in the information sheet (this page under 'Downloads') and which will be sent to the parties with the notice of the first directions hearing in all development and resource matters other than class 1 planning applications.

Can a third party participate in a planning matter?

A person who is not an applicant or a respondent is known as a “third party”.  SAT has published a pamphlet explaining how third parties can participate in a SAT planning matter.

The pamphlet notes that there are generally no third party appeal rights in relation to planning decisions in Western Australia and that, under section 243 of the Planning and Development Act 2005, SAT’s general power to join a person as a party to a proceeding under section 38 of the State Administrative Tribunal Act 2004 is excluded in planning matters.

However, there are four ways in which it may be possible for a third party to participate in a planning matter.  These are–

  1. being called as a witness ( by the respondent;
  2. making submissions under section 242 of the Planning and Development Act 2005;
  3. intervening under section 37(3) of the State Administrative Tribunal Act 2004; and
  4. possible participation in mediation.

The pamphlet discusses each of these possibilities.

Where can development and resources decisions be found?

The full text of all written development and resources decisions can be found in the decisions database on the SAT website (view Decisions Database).

SAT also publishes regular bulletins which contain summaries of written decisions of note in the Development and Resources area. Published bulletins prior to July 2014 are available by selecting Development and Resources Decisions Bulletins or for decisions published from July 2014 onwards click here.

If you would like to receive our regular bulletins by email, please register your interest by subscribing here.

A table of development and resources decisions made since January 2005 is also maintained and updated periodically on the website.  The current table can be viewed by searching the Development and Resources Decisions Bulletins web page.

SAT has also compiled a summary of all written decisions of its predecessors the Town Planning Court of WA (1975-1979), the WA Town Planning Appeals Tribunal (1979-2002) and the Town Planning Appeal Tribunal of WA (2003-2004).  The summary can be viewed by searching the Development and Resources Decisions Bulletins web page.

Are there appeal rights?

A Party may apply to the President of SAT to review a determination of SAT under part 14 of the Planning and Development Act 2005 upon a matter involving a question of law where the determination was made by a non-legally qualified member. Please see Practice Note 4 - Review of Decisions of the Tribunal under section 244 of the Planning and Development Act 2005.

Are there related subjects that SAT does not handle?

SAT does not deal with:

  • appeals under the Environmental Protection Act 1986; and
  • liquor licensing matters.

For more information on areas not covered by SAT see Matters Not Dealt By SAT in Jurisdiction.


Last updated: 1-May-2019

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