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Shire of Augusta-Margaret River chalks up State Administrative Tribunal short-stay challenge

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.
Camera IconThe Shire of Augusta-Margaret River. Credit: Warren Hately/Augusta-Margaret River Times/Augusta-Margaret River Times

The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River has claimed a win at the State Administrative Tribunal which backs its short-stay accommodation stance, according to planners.

Last month, the SAT threw out a challenge to a 2021 decision ruling against a proposed holiday home on Bankside Retreat near the Margaret River.

The SAT decision upheld the Shire’s policy which established specific zones where holiday homes were permitted and intended to protect residential areas from amenity conflicts.

Shire planning and regulatory services manager Matt Cuthbert said he was pleased the tribunal gave “substantial weight” to the Shire’s decision.

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“This gives planning officers, proponents and the general public confidence that the policy can be relied upon to prevent inappropriate impact to residents and the amenity of surrounding areas, and that everyone knows the rules about where holiday homes can and cannot be located,” he said.

The tribunal found that the Shire’s refusal was the correct and preferable decision in the circumstances.

The decision was an additional boost to the Shire’s policy, which was currently at risk from a long-winded review of State planning regulations around the short-stay sector.

WA Planning Minister Rita Saffioti could potentially decide against Capes local governments when she puts her official response to a parliamentary inquiry to lawmakers this year.

Findings and consultation from the inquiry’s Levelling the Playing Field report into the short-stay sector insisted on a Statewide platform for holiday-home registration, but the minister was also considering removing the need for planning approval for operators renting out homes for fewer than 60 days a year.

That decision had the potential to undermine the Shire’s planning laws restricting where short-stays can be based.

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