Frequently Asked Questions

When is Development Approval required?

Development approval is required for all proposed development and/or land uses unless otherwise exempt by legislation. In particular, a single house, extension of a single house, outbuilding, garage, verandah, patio, carport or swimming pool do not require development approval of the Shire if the relevant planning framework is complied with and the land and/or building is not affected by heritage requirements. Please note that a Building Permit may still be required even if your proposed development and/or land use is exempt from development approval. In circumstances where development approval is required you will need submit a development application to the Shire for assessment and determination.

Why do I need Development Approval?

Generally speaking, development approval is required to ensure the amenity of the area or neighbourhood is not adversely affected by your proposed development and/or land use and to ensure the orderly and proper development of the Shire.

How long does a Development Application take to determine?

From a statutory sense the Shire has 60 days to determine a development application if no public consultation is undertaken and 90 days to determine a development application if public consultation is undertaken. The Shire endeavours to determine development applications well within these statutory timeframes.

Can I subdivide my block?

Subdivision of land is dependent upon several factors, including the requirements of the Shire’s Town Planning Scheme, the Residential Design Codes of WA and any relevant planning strategies.  Subdivision in WA is governed by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC). Subdivision applications are made to the WAPC who then refer applications to the relevant local government for a recommendation. If you are interested in subdividing it is suggested you contact the Shire’s Planning Department for advice in the first instance.

What is the zoning and density code of my property?

The zone and density code of your property is determined either by the Shire’s Town Planning Scheme or by an approved structure plan. The colour coded maps of the Town Planning Scheme identify the various zones and within the Shire. For land zoned ‘Residential’, the maps also identify a density code.

If I commit a breach of the Shire’s Town Planning Scheme can I be fined or prosecuted?

The Shire can issue a fine for a breach of the Town Planning Scheme of $500 for minor matters or matters that may have previously been dealt with at court. The Shire will generally prosecute offenders in court for major breaches of the Town Planning Scheme. Circumstances for which a fine may be issued include unauthorised erection of signage, unauthorised parking of commercial vehicles, unauthorised placement of sea containers and unauthorised clearing.

How long does Development Approval last?

Development Approval lasts for 2 years from the date of the approval unless otherwise specified in a condition of approval. Development Approval will generally lapse if the development and/or land use has not completed or substantially commenced within two years of the date of the approval.  ‘Substantially commenced’ in relation to a dwelling means the slab has been laid and brickwork is up to plate height.

Development Approval also runs with the land. For example, if a landowner was granted Development Approval for a patio but didn’t build it before selling the house, the new owner can construct the patio as per the approved plans provided it is within the expiry date of the approval.

What is a building envelope?

A building envelope is the designated area on a property where buildings and effluent disposal systems are to be contained within. These generally apply to rural residential areas within the Shire. The purpose of building envelopes is to cluster development, protect vegetation and other environmental features and address bushfire protection.

Building envelopes are most commonly determined for properties when the land is originally subdivided. Most building envelopes are 2000m² in area.

What are the R-Codes?

The R-Codes, formally known as the Residential Design Codes of Western Australia, provide a comprehensive basis for the control of residential development throughout the state. The R-Codes address housing density, setbacks, privacy, site coverage and solar access among other things.

What setbacks apply to my block?

For residential land, the R-Code of the lot determines the setbacks and they are shown in Table 1 of the R-Codes.

Site Area (m2)

Aggregate Floor Area (m2)

Maximum Wall Height (metres above natural ground level)

Maximum Ridge Height (metres above natural ground level)

Up to 600

10% of the site area



601 – 1,000




1,001 – 2,000




2,001 – 5,000




5,001 – 10,000




10,001 – 40,000




Greater than 40,000




In the rural residential areas of the Shire, Town Planning Scheme No. 4 contains the setback requirements. In most cases however, a rural residential property will have an approved building envelope, within which all development must be located.

What is a Local Government Heritage Inventory?

A Local Government Heritage Inventory (sometimes known as a Municipal Heritage Inventory) is a list of places and buildings which are of cultural heritage significance. The Shire of Murray adopted its own Local Government Heritage Inventory in 2013. This Inventory is reviewed periodically.

Inclusion in the Inventory alone does not mean that a property is ‘heritage listed’. Inventories can assist local governments to determine local conservation policies and provide information about local heritage that may be required under a local town planning scheme.

To read all about the Shire of Murray’s Heritage Inventory, please go to :

Why is native vegetation important?

From an environmental aspect, native vegetation includes not just the trees but the equally important (but often overlooked) understorey, small trees, shrubs, grasses and herbs. Often the most unique plants are found in the understorey. To read more please click on the link below:

What can we do to protect our Waterways and Wetlands?

The most defining environmental feature of the Shire of Murray is the internationally recognised Peel-Harvey Estuary and the entire system that it supports.  This system provides habitat for wildlife, breeding grounds for fish and crabs and is the source of life for our community.  The estuary and the wetlands and river systems associated with it that traverse our Shire are often places of great natural beauty where we cast a rod, canoe or camp by the foreshore.   To read more please click on the following link:

How will climate Change Affect Murray?

Climate Change is expected to have significant implications for local government, communities and the environment.  The impacts we are likely to experience in Murray include an increase in heat waves and storm surge, increased flooding and sea level rise, reduced water availability, higher water salinity, larger mosquito counts, an increase in the frequency and intensity of bushfires and the possible loss of flora and fauna species.  These impacts may result in adverse risks and great costs to our community, the economy and the environment if we don’t act early.  The good news is that we have a chance to minimise our exposure to these risks and costs if we act now.

To find out what you can do to minimise your own impacts please check out  and for further information on scientific study and bigger picture federal initiatives please visit the website of the Australian Government Department for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency at or

What is the flood level at my place?

The Department of Water determines the 1 in 100 year flood level for affected areas in the Shire of Murray. The 1 in 100 year flood level will vary throughout affected areas of the Shire. The 1 in 100 year flood level may have implications on your plans to develop your property, particularly with relation to finished floor levels and impediments to flood flow.

It is advisable to contact the Department of Water (107 Breakwater Parade, Mandurah, or phone (08) 9550 4222) to find out what if your property is affected by major flooding as they are the responsibility authority for determining the 1 in 100 year flood level.

When is a building permit required?

A building permit is required to be obtained prior to commencement of work for all structures and alterations, exceptions being:

  • Class 10 structures on a ‘Rural’ zoned property and
  • Sheds less than 10m2 on residential lots.

What size shed can I build on my property?

The Shire’s Domestic Outbuildings Local Planning Policy contains maximum sizes for sheds for the Shire’s residential areas. The table below shows the maximum floor, wall and ridge heights specified in the policy dependant on the size of your property.

Do pools and spas require a building permit and if so, do they need to be fenced?

Yes, all private swimming pools and spas require a building licence as per ‘Building Act 2011’, ‘Building Regulations 2012’ and ‘Australian Standard 1926.2, 2007 Fencing for Swimming Pools’.

What is the structure of building fees?

Fees associated with a building permit are applied to the estimated commercial value of the works (excluding GST).

Building Application Fee (Residential) – 0.35% of estimated value (min. $105.00)
Building Application Fee (Non-Residential) – 0.2% of estimated value (min. $105.00)
BSL (Building Services Levy – $61.65
BCITF (Building & Construction Industry Training Fund) – 0.2% of estimated value over $20,000

Note! Local Governments are only a collection agency for the BSL and BCITF.  These organisations set the fees to be collected.

What can be done about noise nuisance?

The Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 are the prescribed standard for noise under the Environmental Protection Act 1986. The purpose of the Regulations is to limit noise to reasonable levels.

Noise emitted by the occupier of one premises, for example from stereo music, must not exceed assigned noise levels when received at another premises.

The assigned levels for noise do not apply to noise emitted from residential premises from the use of specified equipment, provided certain conditions are met. Specified equipment is any item of equipment, which requires the constant presence of an operator for normal use, such as power tools and lawn mowers.

The conditions that must be met are:

  1. The specified equipment may only be used for up to two hours per day;
  2. The equipment is used
    (i) between 7:00am and 7:00pm on Monday to Saturday inclusive; or
    (ii) between 9:00am and 7:00pm on a Sunday or public holiday; and
  3. The specified equipment is used in a reasonable manner, which is determined by Council’s Officers.

If the use of specified equipment does not comply with the above conditions it must meet the assigned noise levels.

Musical instruments are subject to the restrictions mentioned above except that they may be played for no more than one hour per day.

If you are being disturbed by a noise nuisance you should first approach the person making the unreasonable noise to talk to them about the impact it is having on you. If this doesn’t result in any change in behaviour, contact Environmental Health Services to discuss the issue.

For noise issues that occur outside of the Shire’s operating hours (eg, late night parties) it is recommended that you contact the police or alternatively contact the Shire the next business day.

Can I live on my property while I build a house? (Temporary Accommodation)

An application for Temporary Accommodation should be made in writing to the Shire of Murray and be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $500.00 for initial applications and $160.00 for renewal applications.

Approval for Temporary Accommodation will only be granted to properties which have a potable water supply and also have a permanent power supply (ie. Western Power) connected. Temporary Accommodation must be either in a shed or caravan containing or connected to a toilet, shower and laundry with all waste from these facilities being disposed of via an approved onsite effluent disposal system.

Approval will be for an initial period of 6 months and the Shire may approve an additional 6 month period if substantial progress (i.e. built to plate height) is made in the construction of the dwelling. Temporary Accommodation approval will be given when a building licence has been issued for the proposed dwelling and construction has commenced, i.e. footings poured.

Am I allowed to keep chickens at a property in an Urban area?

The Shire of Murray Health Local Laws 1999 permit an occupier of a premises within a townsite to keep a maximum of twelve poultry. However, roosters, geese, turkeys, peafowl, emus and ostriches are not allowed to be kept at properties within a townsite.

Poultry should be kept in a clean, properly constructed and securely fastened structure or enclosure, which is in a yard having an area of at least 30m2 and they should not be able to approach within 15 metres of a dwelling

Am I allowed to keep animals such as sheep at a property in an urban area?

Horses, cows and other large animals, including sheep and goats, are not permitted to be kept at properties in townsites, without the written approval of the Council. Approval will only be granted if certain conditions are met, including the provision of at least 0.2 hectares for the exclusive use of each animal and the animal should not be able to approach within 30 metres of a dwelling. These restrictions, and other conditions relating to housing the animals, generally prohibit the ability to keep such animals in urban areas so it is advisable to contact the Shire’s Environmental Health Services for further information before considering keeping such an animal.

What type of Effluent Disposal System do I need for my development?

Properties not connected to deep sewerage require onsite waste water treatment systems. Low lying areas within the Shire include sensitive environments with high ground water levels, and therefore only nutrient retentive systems are approved in these localities. The Shire aims to improve environmental standards by reducing the release of phosphates into waterways, as it promotes algal growth.  An Environmental Health Services Information Sheet is available on the Shire’s website at to help you in completing your application, also available on our website.

For information on which systems are suitable for your property please refer to the Department of Health’s list of approved ATUs:

Approved Aerobic Treatment Units (ATU) for Single Dwelling Units

Approved Alternative Effluent Disposal Systems

How do I go about getting approval to start a new Food Premises?

It is best to discuss your options with a staff member of the Shire’s Planning and Building Services team, to ensure you have the correct planning and building approvals in place. It is also important that a site meeting is held with an Environmental Health Officer to discuss your proposal prior to the commencement of any work. A Food Notification/Registration form (available at should be completed and submitted along with plans to the Shire’s Environmental Health Services.

Will my Food Business need to be inspected?

Routine inspections are carried out by Shire of Murray’s Environmental Health Officers to ensure local food businesses comply with the Food Act, Regulations and Food Safety Standards. Food sampling may also be undertaken at businesses that manufacture food locally, such as bakeries and butchers. The Food Act 2008 requires all food businesses that store, prepare, handle, serve or sell food to notify or register with their Local Authority.

You may inform the Shire of Murray of your intention to sell food by completing and submitting the Food Notification/Registration Form, with the relevant fee (available on our website, Notification and annual registration fees apply to all food businesses in which food is prepared or served to the general public for financial gain or reward. This fee is waived for not-for-profit organisations and community groups. Should the application be approved, a Certificate of Registration will be issued for your food business. This process also applies to food businesses being operated from a vehicle which is kept at a property within the Shire of Murray

Do I need Council approval to hold a temporary food stall, including sausage sizzles?

Anyone wishing to hold a temporary food stall, including a sausage sizzle, is required to complete the Shire’s food stall application form and forward it to Environmental Health Services for consideration. Application form available at

The fee for a temporary food stall for a business wishing to operate at a public event is $50.00. There is no fee charged for charitable and community, not-for-profit, organisations undertaking fundraising activities. The Environmental Health Officers will assess the application and if it is approved a Food Stall Licence will be issued.

Do I need approval to carry out food preparation at home?

Anyone wishing to prepare food for sale at a residential property, whether it is for a not-for-profit organisation or a business, must apply to Environmental Health Services by completing and submitting a Food Notification/Registration Form. The application should include details of the type of food to be prepared and where the food will be sold. An inspection of the premises may be carried out by a member of the Environmental Health Services team.

Potentially hazardous food such as cream, custard and bacon may spoil if they are kept at room temperature and therefore they cannot be used if the produce is to be displayed or stored without refrigeration. For more information on food safety and food labelling requirements for both businesses and not-for-profit organisations refer to the Food Standards Australia website:

How do I report a Food Complaint?

If you suspect that something you have eaten has made you ill or has been contaminated, contact Environmental Health Services so that our officers can investigate the incident. If you have a sample of the food, keep it wrapped and refrigerated so it may be tested.   The Environmental Health Officer will need to know when and where you may have consumed contaminated food and the details of the food eaten. If anyone has become ill, it is often helpful to know what their symptoms are and when the illness started.

You are advised to seek medical treatment if the symptoms are severe or if the person who has food poisoning is young, old or immunocompromised.

 Useful Links :

Food Act 2008 (External site)


Food Regulations 2009 (External site)

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (External site)

Environmental Health Australia

How do I obtain a Liquor Licence?

A liquor licence is required for any premises which sells liquor in accordance with the Liquor Control Act 1988. A licence may be obtained from the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor (DRGL) which is the regulatory body. The Shire of Murray will be asked to provide comment to the DRGL on applications for new premises, as well as for amendments to existing licences.

The DRGL website ( provides information on the types of licences available and how to apply for them. For advice on liquor licences, contact the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor on 08 9425 1888 or email

What is being done about the Mosquito problem?

Mosquitoes can be a nuisance to people, but some species are also vectors for mosquito borne diseases such as Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus. These illnesses may have a serious impact on the health of those that contract them.

The Shire of Murray is a member of the Peel Mosquito Management Group, whose main focus is the reduction of salt marsh mosquitoes in the Peel region. The mosquito management program aims to minimise breeding of mosquitoes to help protect the health of people in the area.

 Aerial treatments

There are approximately 600 hectares of salt marsh habitat around the Peel Harvey estuary, in which mosquitoes may lay eggs. Inundation of the salt marshes following rain or high tides triggers extensive numbers of larvae to hatch. The Shire’s Mosquito Control Officer routinely assesses larvae densities, which regularly exceed 1000 larvae/m2, so that aerial larviciding treatments are timed to have the greatest impact on the mosquito numbers. However, it must be recognised that total eradication of mosquitoes in the Peel region is not possible.

 What you can do

People who reside in or visit the Peel region can take measures to protect themselves – avoid being outdoors during increased mosquito activity, such as at dawn and dusk.

To reduce the risk of being bitten:

  • Wear loose fitting clothing
  • Wear clothing that is light coloured
  • Wear clothing that coves your arms and legs
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET

To reduce the numbers of mosquitoes around the home:

  • Ensure there are no potential breeding sources
  • Ensure fly screens are maintained

There are a number of products which may be applied to surfaces around your home to assist with mosquito control. For further information, please contact your local pest control company or hardware store.

For further information on mosquito management click on the link below to the Department of Health’s website:

How do I get rid of pests?

If you are experiencing problems with control of pests such as cockroaches, ants, wasps, bees, rats, and other rodents, please don’t hesitate to contact the Shire of Murray’s Environmental Health Services team for advice.

It is the responsibility of the property owner (or occupier) to control and treat for pests in residential properties. If you have concerns regarding pests at a neighbouring property please contact Environmental Health Services on 9531 7777. The Department of Agriculture may also be able to assist with identification of pest species. For information about specific pests, please refer to the links below:

Department of Agriculture :

Department of Health :

What do I need to do to open a body piercing/tattooing business?

Any sort of skin penetration procedures which involve the piercing, cutting, puncturing, tearing or shaving of the skin or mucous membrane or conjunctiva of the eye needs to be assessed and approved. For an application to establish a skin penetration premise please click on the following link:

When we receive your application we will contact you to discuss your application, arrange an inspection of the skin penetration area and assess your level of knowledge about the Code of Practice (available by clicking the above link).

Note: After approval, but prior to commencement of any skin penetration business, it is strongly recommended you obtain public liability insurance.

 Further requirements for home occupations

In addition to the above approval with Environmental Health Services, planning approval for a home occupation is required to operate a business from a residential property. Planning approval can be sought by completing an Application for Approval to Commence Development Form (available at

Request Further Information