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Local Planning Strategy Review 

This is your opportunity to have your say about the future of Northam!

A review of the Local Planning Strategy (the Strategy) has commenced, which is a document that helps guide the long-term land use planning direction for the Shire.


The Strategy will incorporate state and regional planning policies into the local planning framework providing a balanced and logical approach to land use and future development that will be included in the Local Planning Scheme (LPS6).


The Strategy will also outline how the Shire can accommodate future population growth and how it will respond to economic, environmental and social issues.



The Shire of Northam Local Planning Strategy and Scheme were first adopted in 2013 and since that date no major review has been undertaken.


The gazettal of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 introduced the requirement for all local planning schemes to be reviewed within 6 months of their 5 year anniversary.


In 2020, the Shire undertook a review of its planning framework and concluded that whilst the general framework was still working effectively a minor review of the Scheme, together with the Strategy, was required.


Council’s recommendation was supported by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) and since then Shire and Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) Officers have been working together to update the Local Planning Strategy, which will provide the basis for review of the Local Planning Scheme.



The 1st stage of the review of Northam’s planning framework was to review the Local Planning Strategy to update the strategy to:

  • Address population, lot activity and development
  • Incorporate State policy changes (e.g. bushfire, sewerage)
  • Align the Strategy with the Council Plan.


Council have adopted the draft amended Strategy and the WAPC have certified it for advertising, which will be advertised to the community and stakeholders for comment for a minimum period of 42 days. Watch the Shire’s website and socials for updates and details of opportunities to be involved.


Following completion of the advertising period, all submissions will be considered, and Officers will make recommendations to Council in relation to any modifications proposed. The draft Strategy will then be referred to the WAPC for final approval.


Once the Strategy has been approved, the local planning scheme will be updated through a series of scheme amendments, and depending on the amendment, readvertising may be conducted.


Any minor amendments to correct anomalies and any errors/inconsistencies that have been detected since its gazettal will be updated by a series of omnibus amendments, which generally will be considered to be basic amendments that do not require advertising as they are administrative in nature or have been previously advertised through the Strategy review process. Some amendments may be defined as standard amendments that will require advertising.


More information on scheme amendment processes is available at

Proposed amendments

Summary – What is proposed?

Whilst there are no major proposals as part of the review of the Strategy, there are some main points of difference between the current and proposed strategies, including:

  • Rezoning commercial and mixed use areas to increase flexibility to promote and support a range of residential, local commercial, tourism and community uses in the town centres.
  • Encourage infill residential development in existing settlements to providing additional housing choices for the community and workers.
  • Identifying additional industrial, rural enterprise and employment land opportunities.
  • Continuing to protect rural land for agricultural purposes.
  • Identification and protection of scenic routes, which includes rationalisation of the existing landscape protection area.



The timing of the review has enabled alignment with the Shire’s Council Plan “Our Plan for Future”, with the Vision and Objectives being incorporated into the revised Strategy. In line with the Council Plan, the revised Local Planning Strategy will:

  • Promote economic diversification and investment.
  • Revitalise and grow settlements, including consolidating services and commercial land in centres and settlements.
  • Provide for a wide range of community needs and infrastructure to support development.
  • Preserve natural, landscape and heritage values.
  • Be guided by a high level of community input.


The Council Plan is available for viewing or download from the Shire’s website at



The format of the Strategy has been updated so that it is consistent with the WAPC’s Local Planning Strategy Guidelines. It now consists of 2 parts with Part 1 containing the Strategy and Part 2 containing the background information and analysis.

Background Information

The 2021 ABS Census data has been used to update the demographic information to inform the Strategy, including aspirational population targets.


Information from DPLH’s draft Northam Regional Land Supply Analysis has guided the strategic direction in relation to residential, commercial and industrial land supply needs to ensure there is sufficient land to cater for future needs.

Strategy Actions

The strategy actions in Part 1 are divided into the major themes of –


Maps in Part 1 have been updated to reflect the current state of play together with identifying any new or amended future actions.



Population and Housing – What is proposed?

At the 2021 census, the Shire population was 11,358, which is an increase of 7.6% from 2011. The current Local Planning Strategy has adopted an aspirational growth rate of 5% annually or a population of 20,000 by 2031.

To achieve sustainable population growth and economic development, we have reviewed the Strategy to ensure it meets current and future needs and is adaptative and flexible. There needs to be a diversity in housing supply that provides quality and affordable housing, which also addresses workforce and social housing needs.

Local Planning Strategy Actions focus on:

  • Creating opportunities for investment in community and educational infrastructure, economic activity and diverse industry.
  • Providing suitable residential land to encourage young people to stay or move to the Shire.
  • Supporting the redevelopment of the Northam town centre to attract business and development.
  • Review and apply the local planning scheme flexibly (where discretion applies) to support diversification and enable multi-use of buildings and places for local services and facilities.
  • Review and apply the local planning scheme flexibly to encourage innovative, affordable and sustainable housing options.
  • Identify additional opportunities for aged care in high amenity locations and engage in discussions with government, business and community stakeholders for a coordinated approach.
  • Support opportunities to release affordable residential land in locations in and around the Northam townsite.
  • Work with the Housing Authority to plan for new public housing and the refurbishment/redevelopment of existing public housing settlements.
  • Support ‘build-to-rent’ proposals in appropriate locations to add to rental supply and housing mix.
  • Partner with stakeholders and developers to demonstrate new innovative, affordable and sustainable housing to encourage similar developments.


How will we track our progress?

  • Increasing population
  • Greater diversity of housing in townsites
  • Provisions of new and renovated public housing
  • Increase in rental housing


Economic Development - What is proposed?

At the 2021 Census, the Shire’s economic output was $1873.418 million annually and the top 5 output industries were:

  1. Manufacturing - $278.022 million
  2. Construction - $240.303 million
  3. Public Administration and Safety - $184.725 million
  4. Rental Hiring Real Estate - $163.926 million
  5. Healthcare - $147.683 million


Our top 5 businesses were:

  1. Agriculture – 181
  2. Construction – 126
  3. Transport – 64
  4. Rental Hiring Real Estate – 57
  5. Other services – 53


The top 5 employing businesses were:

  1. Healthcare – 808
  2. Public Administration and Safety – 617
  3. Education and Training – 500
  4. Retail Trade – 487
  5. Manufacturing - 343


From rural town centres through to the Northam town centre, the Shire’s commercial areas will continue to be key focal points for commercial and social activity to meet the needs of the community.   


We want them to be thriving community hubs that provide jobs close to where people live, and that are easily accessible.  They should be well-designed and contribute positively to town’s character. 


Local Planning Strategy Actions focus on:

  • Review the zoning in the town centres to provide flexibility to support growth and host land uses and activities that support the wider region.
  • Review land use permissibility and apply flexibility to establish new commerce, industry and agricultural uses.
  • Facilitate and support additional commercial and industrial uses in appropriate locations.
  • Review the scheme to support and diversify tourism, hospitality and recreational uses in appropriate locations, including introduction of nature-based tourism.
  • Investigate options for Rural Enterprise zoning where it is compatible with rural and rural residential amenity.
  • Support value-adding industries in the rural zone where there are no impacts on other land.
  • Only support rezoning and subdivision of rural land for rural living or residential purposes in areas shown on the LPS maps where it will not compromise agricultural productivity or loss of productive agricultural land.


How will we track our progress?

  • Increasing contribution to the local and State economy
  • Greater diversity of businesses in our townsites
  • Greater diversity of tourism opportunities
  • Continued contribution to the local and State economy from the agricultural sector



Infrastructure & Community Facilities

Coordinated provision of infrastructure and community facilities is key to achieve our objectives for population growth and economic development.


Local Planning Strategy Actions focus on:

  • Focus new development and growth in locations with access to reticulated water and sewerage infrastructure in the Northam and Wundowie townsites.
  • Facilitating expansion and upgrades to the Water Corporation’s infrastructure.
  • Review the development controls relating to flood prone land based on updated information provided by DWER.
  • Development and subdivision to address stormwater management, drainage, vegetation and site works.
  • Improve local waste management options, including waste avoidance and recycling options.
  • Introduce the Rural Townsite zone to provide flexibility to support a range of community-based land uses.
  • Provide opportunities for community participation in the planning, delivery and management of community services and facilities.
  • Promote coordinated development of aged accommodation, health and care facilities.
  • Work with the indigenous population to plan for the provision of a range of services and facilities.


How will we track our progress?

  • Increasing infill development in the Northam and Wundowie townsites
  • Improved waste management options and services
  • Increase in community-based services in the townsites
  • Increased community participation in planning of services



Environmental Conservation & Heritage

The Council Plan aims to protect and enhance environmental values and the diverse natural landscape and respond to a changing climate.


Protection of the Shire’s natural environment and heritage is a priority for the community. The Shire has many significant areas and places that are equally as important for their recreational value and contribution to our unique local character. 


We are also facing a range of new challenges as the world’s climate changes.


Local Planning Strategy Actions focus on:

  • Ensure that all land use planning decisions consider the LBS vegetation targets.
  • Review scheme provisions for retention and protection of existing vegetation and environmental assets.
  • Map mature trees and create a significant tree register.
  • Promote, support and fund integrated catchment management.
  • Support the preparation and implementation of management plans for public and privately owned high conservation land.
  • Investigate options for the development and implementation of a climate change adaptation strategy and action plan.
  • Protect the natural visual landscape characteristics and views from development.
  • Focus development on existing cleared land in and around townsites to manage bushfire risk.
  • Ensure clearing associated with development is consistent with conservation values.
  • Undertake continued bushfire risk management planning and mitigation work and undertake a strategic review of bushfire access connections.
  • Recognise and consider sites of Aboriginal heritage significance in planning proposals.
  • Continue to review the Local Heritage Survey and update the Heritage List accordingly to protect and preserve heritage and culturally significant buildings and places.
  • Encourage sustainable development and use of heritage places by establishing development incentives and grant funding opportunities.


How will we track our progress?

  • Formalisation of environmental protection measures in the local planning framework.
  • Development of a climate change adaptation strategy and action plan.
  • Local Heritage Survey reviewed, and Heritage List updated.
  • Bushfire risk of new and existing developments identified and managed.




The Shire’s settlements are diverse and it is important that they are well planning, comprehensively services and provide a wide variety opportunities to meet the community’s needs.


Northam is the Shire’s main settlement and has a key role locally and regionally as the key commercial and service centre, it is important that it continues to grow and support economic development.


Wundowie is the largest settlement in the Shire’s west and together with Bakers Hill has been popular for growth in the rural living areas. Clackline and Grass Valley are smaller settlements and are expected to continue their existing functions as local town centres.


Local Planning Strategy Actions focus on:

  • Ensuring that the local planning framework is flexible to accommodate a wide range of urban land uses whilst preserving the local amenity, character, safety and heritage values.
  • Introducing a regional centre-type zone in the Northam town centre to allow a broader mix of uses and activities to growth Northam’s role as the key commercial centre in the Avon sub-region and Central Wheatbelt.
  • Introducing the Rural Townsite zone in the other settlements to support a range of residential, local commercial and community uses.
  • Supporting infill residential development throughout the Shire where there is suitable infrastructure.
  • Encouraging and supporting further development in industrial areas to accommodate a wide range of land uses and to make Northam development ready.


How will we track our progress?

  • Implementing the actions identified in the Strategy.
  • Monitoring available residential, commercial and industrial land.
  • Monitoring development of infill residential, commercial and industrial land.



More information

 Find an answer


How to provide feedback?

Complete the online survey!

An online survey has been developed to gauge the community’s feedback on key issues through targeted questions to ensure we’re on the right track.

Click Here For Survey

Complete an online submission form or write a submission!

An online submission form has been developed to facilitate community feedback. However, you can also print the form and complete it or write your own submission, which need to be received by Friday 24th November either by email, in person or by post.

Postal Address PO Box 613, Northam WA 6401

Administration Centre 395 Fitzgerald Street, Northam

Call (08) 9622 6100

email [email protected]


All responses received within the submission period will be considered and will inform the finalisation of the draft amendments to the Strategy.