Gordon Stephenson and J Hepburn were engaged in 1953 by the West Australian Government to provide a first metropolitan regional plan for Perth and its port Fremantle as the basis for a holistic scheme for controlling land use. The plan produced known as the Stephenson Hepburn Plan (1955) established many planning standards, and became widely accepted as the definitive study of the factors influencing the future development of Perth metropolitan region.
The plan has been in operation since 1963. The completed report recommended that a regional planning authority be established (The West Australian Planning Commission) for the purpose of implementing the regional planning scheme—a recommendation that was passed into law with the MRTPS Act of 1959. The Act centralised sub-division control, keeping it in the hands of the State Government, but delegated many local planning responsibilities to local government.