Town Planning Prosecutions

In Western Australia town planning prosecutions are governed by the Planning and Developments Act 2005 (WA).

Enforcement proceedings under the Act include the:

* Relevant authority giving formal directions (Planning and Developments Act s 214) and commencing prosecution;

* Proceedings for an offence pursuant to section 218 of the Act; and

* the giving of infringement notices under section 228 of the Act.

Our rates and fixed prices are lower than the prices charged by many Perth Commercial law firms because we own our offices so we don't pay the exorbitant St George's Tce rent that many commercial law firms do.   Our rates and fixed prices for commercial work, and for town planning prosecution advice and representation in WA, are therefore lower than the prices charged by many Perth Commercial law firms. 

This year we represented a building company in a prosecution by the City of Canning.

The local council commenced a prosecution pursuant to the Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA) against our client for carrying out building works without approval.

There were three charges against our client and the maximum fines which could be imposed exceeded 2 million dollars.

The reason the fines available were so high is because the legislation requires that for a breach by a company a penalty of 5 times the penalty for an individual is imposed.

At the sentencing hearing we submitted that a fine in the low range should be imposed for the following reasons:

  1. The work carried out wasn’t a significant departure from what was approved, there was no element of mischief or pre-meditation;

  2. A guilty plea was entered at the earliest possible opportunity;

  3. The company had no prior convictions;

  4. The breaches were easily and quickly remedied;

  5. The commercial benefit gained from the breaches was minimal and unintentional;

  6. There was no inconvenience or harm caused by the breaches.

His Honour accepted our submission that this was a small family run company and therefore the increased penalty that is imposed against companies should not apply.

His Honour commended our client on taking immediate steps to reverse the breaches, entering an early guilty plea and entering into discussions with the Prosecutor to agree on some of the facts in dispute. He said this was of considerable public benefit in saving the Court and the City of Canning’s resources.

His Honour imposed a penalty of $5,000 per offence being $15,000 in total. This was a great result considering our client could have been required to pay over 2 million dollars.

If you have received a prosecution notice from your local council it is crucial that you contact us immediately so we can provide you with our advice on how to ensure that you take all the necessary steps to ensure you will receive a reduced penalty.