Property developers could be encouraged to swap some land holdings to aid conservation under one of the biggest revamps of Perth's planning in decades.

The State Government, together with the Commonwealth, is preparing to release an early version of a "strategic assessment" of the Perth and Peel regions.

The assessment, launched three years ago, will aim to cut red and green tape and end ad hoc planning decisions and provide certainty for developers, industry and conservationists.

There is increasing frustration from industry that developments are being held up unnecessarily and for little or no environmental benefit because of inefficient regulation.

Planning Minister John Day said the current system was unsatisfactory, arguing it was overly complicated and costly for businesses and too uncertain for environmental groups.

Mr Day said a focus of the assessment would involve identifying which parts of Perth would be set aside for development and which parts would be safeguarded for conservation.

A major upshot of the changes, he said, would be aimed at protecting endangered plants and animals including black cockatoo species and marsupials.

World Wildlife Fund spokesman Paul Gamblin said if the assessment process were done properly it had the potential to be a "win-win" for development and conservation.

Mr Gamblin said under current arrangements critical habitats were being cleared to make way for developments while disused "brown fields" were sitting idle. He said the project could ensure Perth's planning was much more strategic, though he warned it could have negative environmental effects if handled poorly.

Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre officer Rachel Riley said it was crucial the process protect animals like the Carnaby's.

A draft of the strategic assessment is expected to be released by November.

The West Australian

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