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Norman Waterhouse

PDI Act Transition Audits

19 March 2022 will mark one year since the transition by Phase 3 councils to key development assessment provisions under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act). This anniversary represents an opportune time for councils to reflect on whether they have successfully transitioned their operations to the PDI Act and whether any further action is required. Norman Waterhouse has been approached by councils in relation to audits targeted at measuring council compliance with the statutory requirements under the PDI and its associated regulations.

The potential scope and approach of audits

The audit process undertaken by Norman Waterhouse has comprised interviews with council staff and documentary analysis of a range of matters, including:

  • processing of Development Applications
  • establishment of the Assessment Panel and Building Fire Safety Committee (and associated terms of reference and procedures)
  • appointments and accreditations
  • delegation of powers
  • review of policies
  • enforcement and compliance procedures
  • record keeping

Notable audit findings to date

Issues we have identified from our analysis thus far include:

  • non-compliance with development assessment timeframes
  • incorrect determination of the relevant authority, the nature of the development, and the assessment pathway
  • failure to determine whether a development was seriously at variance with the Planning and Design Code
  • invalidity of conditions on development authorisations
  • unlawful adoption of delegations and errors in limitations on delegations
  • unlawful appointment of authorised officers

Audits are an important “health-check”

It is not uncommon for councils to undertake regular external audits of their broader council operations. Audits can identify areas of statutory non-compliance which, if left unresolved, could expose a council to significant expense. In our experience, regular council-wide audits are often undertaken by external accountants as a function of a council’s audit committee.

Norman Waterhouse is well positioned to undertake these audits

The transition to the PDI Act has been a challenging and complex exercise for councils. Norman Waterhouse has partnered with the LGA and councils during that transition and understands what is specifically required of councils for statutory compliance.

Contact Norman Waterhouse to discuss audits further

We recognise that the scope of an audit may be different for each council. If your council is interested in considering such an audit, please contact one of the following key practitioners to discuss a solution tailored to meet the particular needs of your council:

  • Gavin Leydon on +61 8 8210 1225 or
  • Rebecca McAulay on +61 8 8210 1278 or
  • Lachlan Goddard on +61 8 8210 1227 or
  • Nicholas Munday on +61 8 8217 1381 or
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