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Development Applications

How to prepare and submit a Development and Improvement Application.

How to propose a new commercial development on Wadjemup

Any development or improvement proposed to be undertaken within the Rottnest Island Reserve that include construction, demolition, excavation, alteration, or improvement to existing buildings or sites — essentially, a material change in the use of land or built structures — requires you to lodge a Development Application with Rottnest Island Authority (RIA). 

Applications are determined in accordance with policies and procedures established under the Rottnest Island Authority Act 1987 and the Rottnest Island Authority Regulations 1988

RIA welcomes the opportunity to consider proposals from businesses to add to the island’s facilities and adopts a partnership approach with investors and operators. 

What are we looking for?

When assessing Development Applications on Wadjemup, RIA look to ensure that your development brings value to the island. And not just monetary value: it needs to fit in with the current amenity of its proposed location, and where possible, improve it, while aligning with the vision of the Rottnest Island Management Plan 2023-2028.

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.
  • 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 our 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.

Read the Development Planning Guidelines

Development and Improvement Application Checklist

To make sure your application is complete, here’s an outline of the checklist to follow.

You need to submit:

Be sure to include all the necessary Development Plans, including:

  • Site Plan
  • Floor Plan
  • Elevations and sections
  • Site feature survey
  • 1 x digital copy (PDF format) set of plans scaled at A3

Development Plans must include:

  • Title, author and date
  • Scale and north point
  • Street name(s)
  • Contours
  • Existing and proposed lease area and lease boundary
  • Ground level of all structures and supporting infrastructure
  • Existing buildings and structures, including room layout and uses
  • Buildings or structures scheduled for demolition
  • Alterations and setbacks to adjacent structures and existing infrastructure
  • Existing and proposed landscaping features
  • Location, type, and size of any existing trees
  • Vegetation proposed to be relocated or removed
  • Overshadowing diagram of adjacent structures or use areas
  • Site access for all users and services, including loading and unloading areas, and layout for vehicle access
  • Bicycle parking facilities
  • Significant streetscape features and viewpoints 
  • Details for both internal and external materials and colours
  • Survey of current services for the site including water, sewer, power, telecommunications, and any proposed impacts
  • Impacts and improvements to public facilities


Download the full Application Checklist

The Development Application process

The Development Approval process is intended 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.


Download the Application Process Flowchart

Submit a Development Application

Once you’ve read and understood all this information, it is time to prepare your Application.

When all the information is ready, contact us to begin the Development Application process.


Download the Development Application Form