The tiered structure of community schemes will provide a more flexible option for the subdivision of land in WA - allowing both land schemes and building schemes to be created within the same community scheme.

This is expected to facilitate and simplify mixed use developments in the State, with different types of schemes able to co-exist within one community scheme more effectively than strata titles schemes can typically enable.

The planning framework that will guide the creation of community schemes is outlined below. It is followed by information on the key planning requirement - a community development statement.

On this page:

Overview of planning framework

  • To create a community scheme, a parcel of land must first be subdivided by a community titles scheme. For this subdivision to occur a community development statement (CDS) must be submitted to and approved by the Western Australian Planning Commission (Planning Commission) and relevant planning approvals must be obtained.
  • When the first community titles scheme is registered over the land the community scheme comes into existence. To register this scheme over the land, a scheme notice, scheme plan, schedule of unit entitlements and scheme by-laws must be lodged with the Registrar of Titles, together with the approved CDS, for incorporation into the Register.
  • A certificate of title (for each community title for a lot in the scheme) will then be created and registered in accordance with the Transfer of Land Act 1893.
  • There can be up to three tiers of community titles schemes in a community scheme. Read more on the structure of schemes at understanding community schemes and key features of community schemes.
  • Relevant planning and development approvals must be obtained under the Planning and Development Act 2005 for the subdivision and development of land by a community scheme.
  • Before land can be subdivided by a community scheme, the Planning Commission must determine whether subdivision by a community scheme is appropriate and approve a CDS for the community scheme.

Essential to scheme creation: a community development statement

A community development statement (CDS) is a new planning instrument specifically for community schemes.

It may control the:

  • Subdivision of land by a community scheme.
  • Development of land subdivided by the scheme.
  • Purposes for which the land subdivided by a community scheme may be used.
  • Staging and sequencing of such subdivision and development.
  • Other matters relevant to a community scheme.

The Planning Commission will need to approve the CDS for the subject land before the land can be subdivided by a community scheme.

The CDS may provide certainty for people buying into a community scheme that their scheme will be developed consistently with the CDS. A CDS continues to apply even after all building has been completed and up until the Planning Commission lodges notice with the Registrar of Titles of its declaration that the CDS ceases to have effect.

A CDS may fulfil several purposes, including:

  • Guiding decision-making by the Planning Commission and local government concerning subdivision and development applications.
  • Providing a basis for investment and for the coordination and implementation of investment.
  • Designing and coordinating detailed infrastructure and service provision, providing guidance on land requirements and costs.
  • Providing clarity and certainty for owners and occupiers on what will be developed when.

A CDS may be prepared by the owner of the subject land or their authorised agent. A community scheme must have a CDS and it must be registered.

Tier 2 and tier 3 schemes will not have a separate CDS.


What should be included in the community development statement

A CDS for a community scheme must:

  • Identify the location of the parcel of land subdivided by the community scheme.
  • Include any other information specified in the regulations.

A CDS for a community scheme may also specify requirements for:

  • Subdivision of the land by the community scheme.
  • Development of the land as a community scheme.
  • A plan for the provision of utility services in the community scheme and for utility infrastructure to be constructed, commissioned and maintained in accordance with standards or documents specified by utility service providers.
  • The staging and sequencing of subdivision and development of the land by the community scheme.
  • A planning (scheme by-laws) condition to be imposed on approval of a community titles scheme or an amendment of a community titles scheme.

A CDS may refer to or incorporate (wholly or partially and with or without modification):

  • A State Planning Policy.
  • An Australian Standard published by Standards Australia, or a document of a class specified in the regulations, as in force at a specified time or, if allowed by the regulations in a particular case, as in force from time to time.

A CDS, or an amendment of a CDS, must be in the form approved by the Planning Commission and be endorsed with the date of its approval by the Planning Commission.


Review of the community development statement by the State Administrative Tribunal

In accordance with the provisions of Part 14 of the Planning and Development Act 2005, a right of review by the State Administrative Tribunal will be available where the Planning Commission:

  • determines subdivision by a community scheme is not appropriate
  • refuses a CDS
  • approves a CDS, or
  • approves an amendment to a CDS subject to conditions.

If the Planning Commission exercises a discretionary power in decision-making concerning a proposed CDS or an amendment of a CDS subject to conditions, a right of review by the State Administrative Tribunal will be available in accordance with the provisions of Part 14 of the Planning and Development Act 2005.

Status and effect of the community development statement

A CDS comes into effect on the date that it is approved by the Planning Commission.

The status and effect of a CDS will change depending on what stage it is in - as further outlined below.

One of the key differences between a CDS and other statutory planning instruments (such as a local structure plan) is that the CDS can bind planning decision-makers, owners and developers.

While a CDS is in force for a community scheme (it comes into force at the beginning of the day of its approval) a subdivision applied for before commencement of the development period must be approved if it could be carried out consistently with the CDS.

A subdivision applied for after commencement of the development period for the community scheme must be approved if it could be carried out consistently with the CDS and there is at least four years until the end of the development period for the scheme.

The development period for a community scheme begins on registration of the tier 1 scheme and CDS, and runs for 10 years.

The development period may be extended on application to the Planning Commission and on provision of a copy of a special resolution of the tier 1 corporation approving the extension. If the Planning Commission extends the development period for a community scheme the Planning Commission must lodge with the Registrar of Titles notice of the new date on which the development period ends and the new date has effect when it is recorded for the scheme in the Register.

An application for approval of a subdivision or development made before the end of the development period must not be approved if it is inconsistent with the CDS.

Once the development period has expired, a planning decision-maker must give due regard to the CDS when assessing a development application or a subdivision application.

A CDS ceases to have effect in certain circumstances, including if:

  • At the end of four years after approval of a CDS for a community scheme:
    • The tier 1 scheme has not been registered.
    • There is no application for registration of the tier 1 scheme lodged with the Registrar of Titles that has not been finally determined.
  • At the end of four years after approval of an amendment of the CDS proposed to be registered with a community titles scheme or an amendment of a community titles scheme to give effect to a subdivision of land:
    • The community titles scheme or amendment of the community titles scheme has not been registered.
    • There is no application for registration of the community titles scheme or amendment of the community titles scheme lodged with the Registrar of Titles that has not been finally determined.
  • The Planning Commission declares that a CDS for a community scheme ceases to have effect if the development period for the community scheme has expired.
  • Gives notice of the declaration in the approved form to the Registrar of Titles. The declaration has effect when it is recorded for the scheme in the Register.

How to amend a community development statement

A CDS may be amended by application to the Planning Commission.

If the community scheme has been registered, the community corporation for the tier 1 scheme must approve the proposal to amend the CDS by special resolution before an application is made to the Planning Commission.

The Planning Commission may require an amendment to the CDS where the proposed development or subdivision is not consistent with the CDS.