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State Planning Policies

Setting the scene for the future planning and development in South Australia

State Planning Policies outline a vision for our state and help us to robustly respond to modern opportunities and challenges.

These state wide policies will provide direction on important issues such as affordable living, design quality, the adaptive re-use of buildings and environmental issues such as climate change.

State Planning Policies define South Australia’s planning priorities, goals and interests as a framework for other state wide planning tools such as:

  • Regional Planning
  • Planning and Design Code

Simply, State Planning Policies are the overarching umbrella policies that pinpoint current and future planning issues and then set the directions for the planning system to respond. An example is the protection of the community from a range of hazards, such as bushfire, flooding or coastal erosion.


The new legislation sets out requirements for the preparation of the following State Planning Policies for the sustainable development of South Australia:

  • Design Quality - to encourage high quality design
  • Integrated Planning - to encourage integrated land use, transport and infrastructure planning
  • Adaptive Re-Use - to encourage and support the adaptive reuse of buildings and places
  • Climate Change - to minimise adverse effects of planning and development decisions on the climate and promote development that is resilient to climate change
  • Biodiversity - to enhance biodiversity and minimise the adverse effects of development on biodiversity within the state
  • Preservation of Special Areas - Special Legislative Schemes relate to any declared special legislative scheme, a character preservation law and the following Acts:
    • The River Murray Act 2003
    • The Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary Act 2005
    • The Marine Parks Act 2007
    • The Arkaroola Protection Act 2012

State Planning Policies are prepared and amended by the State Planning Commission at the request of the Minister for Planning.

The first set of State Planning Policies are currently being prepared. A number of state agencies, through a State Planning Policy Reference Group, are assisting preparing the State Planning Policies relevant to their areas of interest.

It is envisaged that the first set of State Planning Policies will be consistent with the directions of the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide and other existing state government policies.

The Commission will conduct engagement on the State Planning Policies in accordance with the Community Engagement Charter. Formal consultation on the draft State Planning Policies with stakeholders and the public will occur in 2018.

At the end of the process, the Commission will provide a report to the Minister for Planning including information about the engagement process and feedback received.

If the Minister decides to approve the State Planning Policies with or without amendment they will come into effect by notice in the Government Gazette and by providing the State Planning Policies on the SA Planning Portal. The Commission’s report will also be provided on the SA Planning Portal.

Parliamentary scrutiny of the State Planning Policies will also take place with a referral to the Environment Resource Development Committee of Parliament.


The role of State Planning Policies in development assessment varies depending on the assessment pathway.

  • Code Assessed Development – these applications are assessed against the Planning and Design Code policy, informed by the State Planning Policies.
  • Environment Impact Statement – State Planning Policies have a role in the preparation of Environmental Impact Statement. This must include a statement of the extent to which the impacts of development would be consistent with relevant State Planning Policies, and must provide any commitments regarding avoidance, mitigation or management consistent with the provisions of any special legislative scheme.

State Planning Policies will also influence an agency’s referral role by setting out state interests up front.

In providing advice to the Minister for Planning regarding the establishment of any Infrastructure Scheme, the State Planning Commission must take into consideration any relevant State Planning Policy.

The Minister, may, on the advice of the Commission, set performance targets on any goal, policy or objective within a State Planning Policy.

These enable the monitoring of progress towards achieving the goals and the extent to which the goal is achieved.

Targets may be monitored, reviewed, withdrawn and may be periodically published.


August 2016
Project scope and guiding principles completed

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

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

February 2017
Commence engagement with stakeholders on draft Framework

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

July 2017
Draft State Planning Policies for discussion with stakeholders

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

November to December 2017
Release State Planning Policies Discussion Draft to state agencies for consultation
April 2018 Targeted consultation of final State Planning Policies and endorsement
May 2018 State Planning Commission to consider the State Planning Policies
July to August 2018 Statutory consultation for 8 weeks
November 2018 Approval of the State Planning Policies by the Minister


To learn more about State Planning Policies please contact us at

Page last modified Friday, 16 March 2018