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Regional Planning

Setting the direction for future planning and development of the State

A new Regional Planning framework enables local government areas to prepare regional plans that provide direction for the region’s future planning.

Regional Plans will be guided by priorities for the whole state so that we can respond to big opportunities and challenges together. They will also guide the development and updates for the new Planning and Design Code, a planning and design rule book for the whole state.


The new legislation paves the way for the creation of new Planning Regions in South Australia.

This allows regional areas to be clearly defined so collaborative arrangements can be established between councils for planning.

It is expected that all of the planning regions will be based upon the existing South Australia Government Regions, although adjustment may be considered to align with other service delivery boundaries as a result of the establishment of a Joint Planning Board. The Minister for Planning may also establish subregions within the broader planning regions.


The new legislation requires a Regional Plan to be prepared for each region. These are prepared by a Joint Planning Board in partnership with the councils included on the Board. Where there is no Board, the Commission will prepare the Regional Plan

Regional Plans will provide a long term (15 to 30 years) land use vision for the relevant region or area. These plans contain directions on land use and development taking account of:

  • population growth and demographic changes
  • supply of land for housing and development
  • preservation of agricultural land
  • water and energy efficiency
  • preservation of biodiversity and the natural environment
  • protection of heritage and character regions.

Regional Plans may be divided into parts relating to sub-regions and may include structure plans, master plans, concept plans or other similar documents. Regional Plans will be used to help guide consideration of any proposed changes for the Planning and Design Code, a single rulebook for the whole state.


Provisions in the new legislation allow groups of councils to enter into Planning Agreements with the Minister for Planning.

A Planning Agreement is a long-term arrangement that allows for planning functions to be delegated to the regional groupings of councils, subject to agreed performance measures and targets. Once established the Joint Planning Board is responsible for the preparation and amendment of the Regional Plan.

The process of establishing a board is flexibly designed to allow for parties to determine the arrangements that suit them best. For instance, a Planning Agreement may include agreements by other Ministers for matters of their responsibility such as Natural Resource Management and the Board may include another entity such as representation from a Natural Resource Management Board.


Representing more than half of the councils in the state, a total of eight separate groups of councils (some 40 councils) have lodged an expression of interest in forming a Joint Planning Board.

The Department has provided ‘seed funding’ and engaged a project coordinator to work collaboratively with the councils to develop a framework and a package of templates for the councils to use for seeking a planning agreement.

The project began in July 2017 and is expected to run to at least the end of this financial year. Interested council groups will then be able to complete their business cases and present their Planning Agreements to the Commission for consideration.

Preliminary research has also begun to develop guidelines for Regional Plans in preparation for the formation of a Joint Planning Board.


May 2017
Initiate ‘Expression of Interest’ process for Joint Planning Arrangements Project
Engage Project Coordinator – Joint Planning Arrangements (after tender process)

July 2017
Survey 8 groups of councils that lodged an Expression of Interest for Joint Planning Arrangements

August 2017
Develop draft Business Case and Business Plan model for Joint Planning Arrangements in consult with 8 groups of councils

October 2017
Seek legal and insurance advice
November 2017 Finalise Business Case and Business Plan templates
February 2018 Regional workshops and Business Case preparation (for ready groups)
Develop Findings Paper for Joint Planning Arrangements
Develop draft Joint Planning Arrangements Toolkit
March 2018 Finalise Findings Paper for Joint Planning Arrangements
June 2018 Finalise Joint Planning Arrangements Toolkit


To learn more about Regional Planning contact us at

Page last modified Thursday, 30 November 2017