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Development Applications FAQ

Frequently asked questions regarding commercial development proposals on Rottnest Island.

Essential information for commercial developments on Wadjemup

Below are answers to common questions about the policies, processes, procedures, and steps to take when submitting a commercial development application on Rottnest Island / Wadjemup.

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Frequently asked questions

The Rottnest Island Authority Act 1987 governs how Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) is responsible for the control and management of Wadjemup. The Rottnest Island Authority Development and Improvements Policy  governs how any commercial planning and development on Wadjemup must be undertaken.

Although Rottnest Island is located in the City of Cockburn, all development applications are managed by the Rottnest Island Authority. The City of Cockburn grant Certified Building Permit Approvals for the island.

There are some key pieces of information you need when preparing and submitting a Development and Improvement Application.

You need to submit:

The Development Approval process is designed to be as straightforward as possible. Here is how it works.

  • Pre-application meeting. RIA will meet with you, the proponent, to determine if a Development Application is required.
  • Prepare your application. You prepare all the necessary documentation, plans, reports, and referrals.
  • Lodgement. You lodge your Development Application.
  • Initial Assessment. RIA assess the Development Application against the application criteria. 
  • Referral. If required, RIA will refer your Development Application to external agencies, such as the Heritage Council of WA or Department of Health, for external input.
  • Public consultation. If required, your Development Application is put out for public consultation for a minimum of 21 days.
  • Further information. If the external referral and public consultation determines any further information is required, RIA will get in touch with you to discuss what’s needed.
  • Final assessment. RIA will make our final assessment of the application. This can take a minimum of 90 days. Substantial Development Applications that require referrals and/or public comment can take up to 120 days. 
  • Determination. RIA will contact you with a determination, which can either be Approved, Approved with Conditions, or Not Approved.
  • Agreement for Lease and Lease negotiations. Following approval, RIA undertake lease negotiations for the development, in compliance with approval conditions.
  • Grant of lease. Your lease is granted and your development or improvement can commence.

When assessing Development Applications, RIA look for developments and improvements that:

  • Recognise the island’s cultural heritage and are designed in a culturally sensitive manner. 
  • Benefit all current and future visitors to the island.
  • Utilise sustainable development practices in construction and operation.
  • Minimise energy demands, with the aim to reduce the island’s carbon footprint.
  • Enable a reduction in water usage.
  • Include landscaping that aligns with the Biosecurity – Importation of Flora Policy
  • Employ best-practice waste management strategies, including the re-use and recycling of materials
  • Wherever possible utilise materials that are sourced locally, reused or recycled, sustainable, renewable, and non-toxic.

To ensure that sustainable development practices are utilised in all commercial development on Wadjemup, RIA have a clear set of Development Planning Guidelines that all developers must follow. This covers sustainable development, environmental management, cultural heritage, construction management, island amenity, and more.

Read the Development Planning Guidelines

Wadjemup’s land use is managed in a strict way, with areas of the island zoned to ensure that the island’s future is planned in a coordinated, prudent, and sustainable manner.

    Read more about the Land Use Plan

    While the process itself varies, the application assessment period can take between 90 and 120 days.

    Find out more about the Development Application process

    RIA release annual Expression of Interest (EOI) rounds that call for proposals for new recreational and leisure business activities, water-based activities, and Aboriginal cultural tourism experiences.

    There are also opportunities through availability of leases and premises, which are offered through a tender process or request for detailed proposals by Rottnest Island Authority.