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Collaboration is essential in moving to a new planning system 

We have begun the biggest modernisation of South Australia’s planning system in 20 years.

Our new legislation, the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act 2016), is supported by a Government commitment of $25.8 million to fund its implementation including ePlanning. The new legislation will be introduced in a carefully planned, staged process from 2017 to 2020 to support a smooth transition to a new, modern planning system.

As we journey towards a 21st Century planning system, our Implementation Strategy (PDF, 5279 KB) sets out the detail on how we will deliver a new planning system for the state. This strategy has been developed in the spirit of collaboration and partnership and seeks to draw on expertise from the broader planning and development sector as well as build support and understanding of the new planning system among the South Australian community.

Check out our Planning Reform Calendar opposite and 2020 Milestones below to track our journey to a new planning system for our state by 2020. Some improvements to our planning system have happened already, and other enhancements will take place over the next couple of years. Simply click the drop down boxes for further information about each of these major milestones.

Improvements will be introduced in a carefully planned, staged process from 2017 to 2020 to support a smooth transition to our new, modern planning system for South Australia.

Close collaboration and partnership between authorities, industry and the public is essential to draw on the expertise of many and build understanding of the new system among those who rely on it. Our new legislation, the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act 2016), is also supported by a Government commitment of $25.8 million to fund its implementation including ePlanning.

As each new part of the enhanced new system is prepared for introduction we aim to deliver best practice research, testing, engagement across state and local government, industry and the broader community, and finally operational support and evaluation.

They key steps for planning system improvements are:


To scope the improvement as well as produce early information, facts or proposals to aid an initial discussion on key questions requiring further evidence and exploration. We will engage thought leaders from far and wide including across state and local government and the private sector to ensure the scope of the improvement is robust and considers a diversity of ideas and views.


Seeking input from those with an interest or specialist expertise in the particular improvement to review early proposals, receive feedback and answer questions. Testers will be drawn from the governance model and a comprehensive base of stakeholders including state and local government, professional industry bodies and thought leaders within specialist planning and development related areas.

Consultation and Endorsement

Broader consultation under world class community engagement principles guided by the new Community Engagement Charter. This will support a broad mix of people to get involved in preparing key elements of the new system including setting the new long-term direction for our state as well as deciding on rules that will shape cities, towns, public spaces, buildings and facilities.

Operational Support and Evaluation

The independent principal planning body - the State Planning Commission - will review and approve each enhancement to the system. Some improvements will also require the approval of the Minister, Cabinet, Executive Council or the Governor for South Australia as detailed in the factsheets below. We will also deliver training and support packages for practitioners to assist in adopting new processes and procedures, and there will be monitoring and reporting on the new system’s performance once in operation.


As we move forward over the next couple of years, we will continue to make planning system improvements gradually. Check out our milestones for an overview of key stages of the journey.

Below is more information about key improvements that have been completed in 2017, and other enhancements currently in progress.

During 2017, the following improvements took place:

  • State Planning Commission established to act in the interests of all South Australian’s as the state’s independent principal planning advisory and development assessment body. It will encourage economic growth and support liveability. Inaugural members and the Chair have been recruited and the body assumes the functions of the Development Assessment Commission, the Building Rules Assessment Commission, Building Advisory Committee, and the Development Policy Advisory Committee.
  • Community Engagement Charter development underway to put community participation at the forefront of the planning process
  • Ministerial Advisory Committees established to support and provide expert advice from a range of sectors on the implementation of the new planning system
  • Infrastructure Schemes provisions created for basic infrastructure schemes and a pilot general scheme to provide new tools to unlock investment and ensure new infrastructure can be funded and delivered in-line with development
  • Environment Food Production Areas introduced to preserve our vital food and agricultural lands
  • Joint Planning Boards and Agreements capacity established for multiple councils to strengthen regional partnerships, with nearly half the state’s councils signed up to participate in pilot schemes
  • ePlanning commences including launch of a new online SA Planning Portal to provide better planning information that is accessible 24/7. This is the first stage of moving our planning system online.
  • Council and Regional Assessment Panels arrangements now in place to support transparent and professional decision making
  • State Planning Policies - preparation commenced to set a strong vision and long term direction for South Australia.

Associated regulations as below were also made to provide more detail on those improvements:

These regulations ensure that the online SA Planning Portal can be used to publish public notices, set out the requirements for the certification of legal planning instruments and make clear the complaints processes for members of the State Planning Commission. The regulations also clarify the annual reporting requirements for the State Planning Commission and regional Joint Planning Boards. They also provide for the establishment of Assessment Panels and their transitional arrangements in the establishment of these Panels.

We will support planning practitioners to transition to the new planning system by developing information to help practitioners understand the new system.

As part of the collaboration process, a wide range of tools and methods will be adopted to partner with the broader planning and development sector including workshops, think tanks, one-on-ones, discussion panels and online feedback.

We have also already commenced a series of roadshows with planning practitioners to provide an opportunity to prepare industry professionals for upcoming planning changes.

Download a copy of the presentation (PDF, 5792 KB) delivered at the roadshows.

Contact for further information about the practitioner roadshows.

Introducing the new planning system will require close collaboration and coordination between councils and the state government.

To facilitate this, a Transition Team – a group of experienced planning officers from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure - will support councils to navigate the change between systems. Each council has a dedicated Transition Manager who will be a single point of contact providing help to implement critical aspects of the new system and, in particular, the new state-wide single rule book - the Planning and Design Code.

There will also be a Collaborative Work Program – an agreement between the Department and councils that identifies tasks and milestones for collaboration in implementing the new system. This will enable councils to plan for the delivery of the new system by providing timely and relevant guidance about expectations and requirements, and to identify training and support requirements. This approach was piloted with the City of Adelaide with positive results.

Council Connect has also been established – a central online forum for council staff with new system information and a library for templates and guides. The site includes a series of interactive forums with messages, updates and general announcements for councils.

Further information

A key focus of modernising our planning system is to give ordinary people more influence on the shape of their local community, and their state. We believe valuable community input should be at the heart of creating our new planning system including developing our vision for South Australia and major rules for development.

The new SA Planning Portal provides basic public access to information about planning and development, training and education, and opportunities for workshops and seminars.

Our new Community Engagement Charter will also set high standards for community engagement and a range of opportunities for people to get involved have been developed including:

  • Minister’s Advisory Groups representing local government, the community and industry groups
  • Collaborative Advisory Team – An industry group chaired by the Minister for Planning to keep informed of the reform process and to seek informal advice.
  • Industry Liaison Group – An informal group to provide updated information to the planning community. Workshop style to seek informal feedback.
  • Code Working Group – A working group of practitioners across local government and industry to provide detailed feedback into the code library.
  • Expert and Practitioner Pool – A pool of over 200 experts and practitioners has been identified through an expression of interest process to inform and assist in the development and implementation of various aspects of the system
  • Community Panel – Panel of 50 people representative of the SA community to inform the Community Engagement Charter.
  • Secondments within the department's Planning Reform team from external State agencies and Local Government

A key aspect of supporting the introduction of the new planning system is for members of the principal planning body – the State Planning Commission - to act as champions for specific improvements.

Champions will guide the preparation for various system improvements, as well as being the key conduit for information and advice to and from the State Planning Commission.

2020 Milestones


August 2018
Practice Direction #2 issued by the State Planning Commission

November 2017
Practice Direction #1 issued by the State Planning Commission

August 2017
Further aspects of the new PDI Act 2016 came into operation

July 2017
The Statues Amendment Act 2017 came into operation to support implementation of the PDI Act 2016

April 2017
The new PDI Act 2016 came into operation

April 2016
The new PDI Act 2016 was passed by Parliament

March 2015
The South Australian government released its response to the Expert Panel reports

December 2014
The Expert Panel for Planning Reform delivered its final report to the Minister for Planning
June 2018 Finalise Joint Planning Arrangements Toolkit and findings paper
March 2018 Workshops and business case preparation (for ready groups)

February 2018
Develop findings paper for Joint Planning Arrangements
Develop draft Joint Planning Arrangements Toolkit

January 2018
Seek confirmation to continue with the project from the 8 Groups of Councils

October 2017
Seek legal and insurance advice

August 2017
Develop draft business case and business plan model for Joint Planning Arrangements in consult with 8 groups of councils

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

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

October 2017
Council Assessment Panels and Regional Assessment Panels commence operation

August 2017
SCAP assumed role of DAC, BRAC, BAC, DPAC
Ongoing Refine the Charter, if required. Ongoing feedback and refinement.
November 2019 Phase 2 practitioner education - workshop with practitioners.
October 2018 Phase 1 practitioner education - online toolkit for practitioners is released on the SA Planning Portal.

August 2018
Commission Practice Direction takes effect by being published on the SA Planning Portal.

April 2018
Minister for Planning approves the Charter and it takes effect by being published on the SA Planning Portal.

Charter developed by the State Planning Commission through three stages of engagement.
November 2018 Approval of the State Planning Policies by the Minister

July to September 2018
Statutory consultation for 8 weeks

May 2018
State Planning Commission to consider the State Planning Policies

April 2018
Targeted consultation of final State Planning Policies and endorsement

November to December 2017
Release State Planning Policies Discussion Draft to state agencies for consultation

October 2017
Prepare State Planning Policies Discussion Draft
Minister to initiate preparation of State Planning Policies

July 2017
Draft State Planning Policies for discussion with stakeholders

June 2017
State Planning Policy Agency Reference Group endorsement of draft State Planning Policy Framework

February 2017
Commence engagement with stakeholders on draft Framework

December 2016
State Planning Policy Agency Reference Group established
Draft State Planning Policy Framework prepared

November 2016
Audit of interstate State Planning Policy Frameworks and concepts and existing state strategies, policy and referrals completed
Inter-agency secondments commenced

August 2016
Project scope and guiding principles completed
End 2018 Pilot Project Report to the Minister for Planning
Early 2018 Draft Infrastructure Scheme Documentation prepared for discussion with Stakeholders

End 2017
Pilot project scope refinement

July 2017
Pilot Projects initiation meeting

June 2017
Pilot Projects selected

March 2017
Appointment of Project Coordinator for Pilot Projects
Infrastructure Scheme Pilot Project Reference Group established

February 2017
Call for Expressions of Interest for Pilot Project
2020 All other building and planning professionals require accreditation
Mid 2019 Members of council and State Planning Commission required to be accredited
Late 2018 Scheme introduced
Mid 2018 Draft scheme – fact sheets, regulations, code of conduct – release for consultation
June 2018 Submissions considered. Consultation report released

April 2018
Workshop with planning practitioners on the CPD educational program

March 2018
Workshop with planning practitioners on the Accredited Professionals Scheme discussion paper

February 2018
Accredited Professionals Scheme discussion paper released for consultation until 30 April

March 2018
Portal Phase 2.0 redesign released based on customer needs
November 2017 External stakeholder workshops with Portal customers to scope needs

October 2017
Council Connect engagement space released
Developed the ePlanning solution conceptual architecture

June 2017
Addition of 'Our Planning Future' and 'Snapshot SA' to Portal
Planning Commission website released

May 2017
New consolidated Public Register released

April 2017
Addition of Ministerial DPAs submissions online

December 2016
SA Planning Portal Phase 1.0 launched
June 2020 Minister for Planning adoption of spatial application of the Planning and Design Code library
April 2020 State Planning Commission approval of spatial application of the Planning and Design Code library
August to December 2019 Statutory consultation on spatial application of the Planning and Design Code library
June 2019 Minister adoption of the Planning and Design Code library
May 2019 State Planning Commission finalisation of the Planning and Design Code library
February 2019 Commencement of statutory public consultation on the draft Planning and Design Code library
December 2018 Collation of the draft Planning and Design Code library
March to December 2018 Drafting and testing of Planning and Design Code library content

March 2018
Comments sought on landuse definitions

March 2018
Release of Introductory Paper

March to July 2018
Release of Planning and Design Code Policy Discussion Papers
April 2019 Land divisions creating additional allotments used for residential development no longer permitted within rural living zones

May to June 2017
Public information sessions

April 2017
Beginning of the last two year period in which to lodge a land division application in rural living zones

April 2016
Environment and Food Protection Areas introduced

January 2013
The Barossa and McLaren Vale Character Preservation Acts came into operation

Mid 2018
Commence investigation into key issues

Early 2018
Project scoping
2019/2020 Commence System Indicators Scheme -align to roll-out of ePlanning
Mid 2019 Build System Indicators Scheme into ePlanning design
End 2018 SPC and Minister endorses System Indicators Scheme
Late 2018 Define what to build into ePlanning solution
October 2018 Consider feedback and define new System Indicators Scheme

August 2018
Papers out on consultation
Page last modified Wednesday, 8 August 2018