Frequently Asked Questions


Can I build a structure on my property without a building licence?

The only structures that do not require a licence are unroofed pergolas up to 20m2 and small garden sheds of 9m2 or less and a maximum of 2.2 metres in height with a temporary floor of paving slabs or bricks if they are located to the required building setbacks relevant to the property Zoning,

Do I have to build a house before I can put a shed on my property?

On a Rural property, a shed can be approved without the need of a prior dwelling approval. On Residential and Rural Residential zoned properties a dwelling must be approved before a shed can be approved.

Do I need any additional specific details when I submit a building licence for a dwelling?

A structural engineer must design the slab and footing details of a residential dwelling. The soil classification of the area (clay & gravel) may mean that additional support is needed to maintain structural integrity. An engineer should also specify the wind region for the site.

Do I need approval from any other government agency before I can build a house on my property?

If building within a town site, the plans must be stamped by the Water Corporation. Owner-builders must have approval from the WA Building Commission prior to submitting the building application.

Do retaining walls require engineer certification?

All retaining walls greater than one (1) metre in height require engineer certification, and a building permit.

What length leach drains are needed if I want to build a house?

The required leach drain lengths for septic systems vary depending on site conditions, size of building and type of leach drains. Please contact the Principal Environmental Health Officer to determine requirements.

If I erect a boundary fence, does my neighbour have to pay half?

Dividing fences are a civil matter. The Department of Housing & Works produces a Dividing Fences brochure that provides guidance to property owners. Copies of the brochure are available at the Shire Administration Office. For further information visit the Department of Commerce – Dividing Fences.

What are the Shire’s fees when I build?

There are a number of fees that the Shire collects when a person builds. These include but are not limited to the following: Shire fees – 0.35% of GST exclusive cost; or $85 if building less than $24,300 GST exclusive; BCITF – 0.2% of total GST inclusive cost for buildings over $20,000; BSL Levy $61.65 (please note: fees are subject to change without notice).

Do I need a Building Licence for a swimming pool?

Yes, you will require a Building Licence for a swimming pool, whether above or below ground and outdoor spas.

How do I obtain an Owner/Builder Registration?

You will need to lodge an application with the WA Building Commission (application forms are available from their website An Owner/Builder Registration is NOT a Building Permit. An Owner/Builder Registration is required for residential works over $20,000. Swimming pools, rural sheds and retaining walls are exempt from this requirement.

Law, Order & Public Safety

What are the prohibited burning times within the Shire of Donnybrook/Balingup?

Generally, the prohibited fire season is in place annually between mid December and mid March of the following year. No fires are to be lit during this period.
Restricted burning times are generally six weeks prior to and six weeks following the prohibited fire season.
Permits to burn are required for the whole of the restricted burning period and can be obtained from the Area Fire Control Officers.
For clarification of dates, which are subject to change, please contact the Shire office prior to carrying out any burning.
For further information refer to the Fire Break Order enclosed with your annual rates notice.

At what age does my dog/cat have to be registered?

A dog/cat owner is legally required to register their pet with the local government if it is more that three months old. All dogs/cats are required to wear a registration tag on their collar, issued by the Council at the time of registration, along with an I.D. tag with owner contact details. These tags are used for identifying pets and owners alike. As of November 2011, all dogs must be micro chipped prior to registration being done and micro chipping details provided to the Shire.


My drivers’ licence is due for renewal, can I have my photo ID processed at the Shire?

My vehicle is due for registration renewal and I have misplaced the renewal notice, can I still pay this account at the Shire?


What is a Planning Approval?

A planning approval is a decision issued by Council under its Local Planning Scheme No.7. The Local Planning Scheme No.7 guides and controls land use and development activity within the Shire. It sets out the rules about different zonings and what is and is not permitted within each zone.

A planning approval, when issued, shows that Council supports your ideas and plans. It gives you certainty that you can proceed to the next step of the approval process.

Getting a planning approval does not mean you can start works on your site. It is usually the first stage in the approval process. Once planning approval is issued, it is then possible to get Health and Building approvals.

If you are uncertain on how to proceed, please contact the Shire’s Planning Department.

Thinking of subdividing your land?

Subdivision applications need to be lodged with the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC). Information on processes, information required to support your application, timing and costs are available on their website.

The Shire is involved in the subdivision process. The WAPC when receiving a subdivision application will refer the application for comments to a wide range of government departments. This includes the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup. The Shire has 42 days to provide town planning advice to the WAPC. The WAPC is required to consider this advice when making a decision.

The town planning advice provided by the Shire will be based on the requirements of the land’s zoning. Zoning information is available in the Shire’s Local Planning Scheme No.7.

If you would like to know about town planning rules that apply to your land, please contact the Shire’s Planning Department.

Thinking of starting up a new business?

You may need a planning approval for changing the use of your land or building. It is suggested you contact the Shire’s Planning Department to find out.

Thinking of building something new?

You may need a planning approval as well as a building licence. Planning approval is required for most things. There are a few exceptions. These exceptions may include:
◾Single house on residential zoned land – subject to complying with setbacks;
◾Sheds on residential land – subject to house being in place and complying with floor area limits;
◾Single house on Agricultural zoned land – subject to complying with setbacks; and
◾Sheds on Agricultural zoned land – subject to complying with setbacks.

Some other exemptions may exist. However, it is advisable to talk to the Shire’s Planning Department to find out.

What is the purpose of a planning approval?

At its very heart, a planning approval is issued to help neighbours get on. It is to ensure any new development won’t look out of place and any business activity will not create conflict. Planning approvals can place conditions on approvals to make proposals more acceptable.

How are decisions made?

Local Planning Scheme No.7 provides Council with the power to make planning decisions. Clause 10.2 lists the matters which Council is required to consider when making a decision.

In general terms, when making a decision, Council is required to have regard to the zoning of the land and the land use table. The land use table lists a range of land uses and includes a designation against all the zones. The designation ranges from:
◾“P” (Permitted) as a right
◾“D” or “A” (Discretionary); or
◾“X” (not permitted).

Discretionary uses require Council to think about the proposal. It may approve, approve with conditions or refuse the proposal. A land use with an “A” designation requires Council to advertise the proposal for neighbour comment.

In applying its discretion, Council needs to think about the intent of the zone and how the proposal will impact on the surrounding area.

Local Planning Scheme No.7 contains a number of zones. Each zone outlines a number of goals, objectives and intents. There are also a number of more specific controls for each zone. This may include defining lot sizes, building setbacks, car parking requirements, building design elements….

Local Planning Scheme No.7 also lists a number of general provisions. These provisions cover a wide range of matters. They include, tree planting, groundwater, flood risk land, height and appearance of buildings….

It is possible to view Local Planning Scheme No.7 to see all the points that Council needs to consider.

What if I don’t like the decision I get?

If Council uses any discretion in making a planning decision, there is likely to be a right of review. This comes in two forms. Firstly, there is a right for reconsideration. This must be made within 28 days of the decision. A “reconsideration” should include additional information or revisions to the proposal that will help Council consider the application differently.

The second form is a “Right of Review”. This is an appeal right and is made to the State Administrative Tribunal. Any “Right of Review” must be made within 28 days of the decision.

More information can be seen at their website.

Works & Services

What is the process to install a crossover?

Although a crossover is typically located within the road reserve, it is the responsibility of the property owner to construct and maintain it (including drainage infrastructure). All crossovers require an application to be submitted to the Shire prior to construction. The Shire may contribute towards the construction of a crossover provided the crossover is;
• adjoining a Shire controlled road ;
• the property’s first crossover;
• approved by the Shire;
• constructed in accordance with the Shire’s approval, Engineering Policy 4.7 Construction of Crossovers and the Shire’s Crossover Application Package (go to Forms page) and
• a copy of the invoice for construction is provided to the Shire.

Any additional crossovers or renewal/upgrade of the existing crossover will not by eligible for a Shire contribution; however written Shire approval must still be obtained prior to construction commencing.
Please be aware there are restrictions on the location and size of crossovers and the Shire has the authority to order the removal of any unauthorised crossovers. If you wish to make further enquiries please contact Works & Services on 9780 4209.

Can the Shire mow my verge?

The Shire encourages residents to maintain verges adjoining their property, especially as many residents like to maintain the verge area to a higher standard than Shire resources allow.
The Shire has an annual mowing program that aims to mow townsite verges twice a year; however due to the large areas that the Shire is responsible for, the timing and scheduling of maintenance mowing may vary. Please contact Works & Services on 9780 4209, to enquire if your verge is an area that the Shire maintains, and when it is next programmed for mowing.
Please note: Requests for mowing verge areas greater than twice per year will not be supported, unless the Shire considers it a safety matter, or of benefit to the greater community. Refer to Engineering Policy 4.25 Urban Verge Management for more information.

How can I request for a road to be graded?

The Shire maintains over 400 kms of gravel roads within the Shire on an annual maintenance grading program. Some gravel roads are graded more frequently than others depending on traffic volumes and use (ie school bus routes, harvesting route etc.).
To find out when a road is due to be graded, or to request for a road to be graded outside of the annual program, please contact Works & Services on 9780 4209
Additional grading will only be supported if it is determined by the Shire as being required to address user safety, or it is to the benefit of the greater community.
For more information on the maintenance of gravel roads, please read our Gravel Road Maintenance Fact Sheet on our Forms page.

A tree has fallen across a road or fenceline. What should I do?

If a tree has fallen across a Main Roads WA (MRWA) controlled road; South Western Highway, Donnybrook-Boyup Brook Road, Preston- Collie Road, Goodwood Road (including the section of Emerald St and Marmion St connecting to South Western Highway), please contact Main Roads on 138 138.

For fallen trees across any other Shire road, please contact Works & Services on 9780 4209 during business hours or the afterhours Emergency Contact on 0419 935 600. The Shire will endeavour to remove a fallen tree from the carriageway as soon as possible.

Where storms or other natural events cause trees to fall onto fences or into properties, it is the responsibility of the landowner to remove the tree. Fallen trees which do not present a hazard to road users may be left on the verge to encourage native rehabilitation.

For further information please refer to
the Engineering Policies 4.24 Rural Verge Management & 4.25 Urban Verge Management.

Can I clear or remove trees along my verge in a rural area?

Clearing of a road verge without a permit is prohibited. Requests to carry out any clearing works are to be made by written application to the Shire and include appropriate supporting documentation for an assessment to be made.
For further information please refer to
the Engineering Policy 4.24 Rural Verge Management or contact Works & Services on 9780 4209.

Can I clear or remove vegetation within a road reserve, along a fence line?

Clearing of vegetation within the road reserve along fence lines is permitted subject to conditions.
For further information please refer to the Engineering Policies or by downloading and submitting a completed Shire’s Fenceline Clearing Permit Application. For more information contact Works & Services on 9780 4209.

Can I burn my road verge?

The Chief Executive Officer is authorised to approve roadside burning in conjunction with Council as referred to in Fire Control Policy 8.3. A written application submitted to the Shire is required for approval.
Refer to Fire Control Policy 8.3 – Road Verge Burning of Shire Controlled Roads for more information or contact the Shire on 9780 4200.

What can I plant on my verge and do I need permission?

Information as to what abutting land owners are allowed to plant on their verge can be located in Engineering Policy 4.25 Urban Verge Management or contact Work & Services on 9780 4209.

What are Works and Services Maintenance Requests?

The Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup undertakes programmed maintenance activities throughout the Shire on a regular basis, which can be subject to change due to various factors.
Non programmed maintenance works can be requested by ratepayers via;
• over the counter requests at the Shire Administration Centre,
• over the phone or
• by downloading and submitting a completed Works Request Form (go to Forms page). For more information contact Works & Services on 9780 4209.
These request are considered by the Shire, and provided the scope of works are applicable to the current Council adopted budget, are programmed for action based on a priority and work schedule.
Requests outside of maintenance works for upgrades such as sealing of roads, re-sheeting of gravel roads, installation of new paths, lighting, playground equipment are to be made in writing to the CEO for assessment and determination through the annual budgeting process and ultimately by Council.

Does the Shire spray weeds on rural road verges?

The Shire conducts an annual road side weed spraying program to control weeds within the road maintenance corridor.
Refer to Engineering Policy 4.24 Rural Verge Management for more information or contact Works & Services on 9780 4209.

Can the Shire prune my street tree?

Council is keen to encourage an environmentally friendly Shire and is endeavouring to save trees and encourage them to grow into a pleasing shape wherever possible.
If you wish to make a request regarding pruning of verge trees that;
• interfere or conflict with public utility services such as power lines;
• appear unhealthy or dangerous; or
• present a hazard to pedestrians, cyclists or motor vehicles.
Please contact Works & Services on 9780 4209.
Note: Council does not prune trees or bushes on private property.

How do I report a faulty street light?

The majority of street lights within the Shire are owned and maintained by Western Power. Street lighting faults (including shades) can be reported to Western Power via their website ( or by calling 13 13 51.
The Shire is responsible for lights in public carparks and along footpaths. To report a street light fault in these areas please contact the Shire on 9780 4200.

What if I don’t want my verge sprayed with herbicide?

The Shire sprays the edge of the road and edge of verge annually. If you do not want this to occur, contact the Shire’s Environmental Officer on 9780 4223 to have your property added to the Shire’s ‘no spray list’.
Contact Works & Services on 9780 4209 for further information.

What should I do about problem weeds such as cotton bush and blackberry on my private property?

You can either control the problem weeds yourself by using a chemical herbicide or employ a professional weed control contractor.
Please contact the Department of Agriculture and Food on 9368 3333 for more information.

How can I control foxes/rabbits or other pests on my property?

If your property is in a rural area, the preferred method is through the use of ‘1080’ bait. Contact the Shire’s Environmental Officer 9780 4223 to discuss other options or Department of Agriculture and Food (08) 9368 3333 to determine if you are eligible for ‘1080’ bait.
If your property is within a town site, the Shire encourages residents to contact a pest control company.