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Planning Reforms

Introducing South Australia's new planning and development system


South Australia is currently undergoing the biggest modernisation of its planning system in 20 years.

A modern planning system is fundamental for South Australia, as it will ensure our state remains liveable, prosperous and vibrant. It ensure that practitioners can continue to meet the demands of our state and create a system that is fast, flexible and easy to use.

The need for a new planning system was identified in 2014, when an expert panel uncovered major flaws in the current planning system (under the Development Act 1993).

The renewed planning system (that will be operational by 1 July 2020) is underpinned by the new Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 which introduces a raft of new planning tools and a new, 24/7 digital ePlanning system that will allow South Australians quick and easy access to the planning system.

Planning Reforms at a glance


Our new planning system seeks to achieve better outcomes for South Australia's economy, environment and communities. Click the infographic below to learn more about outcomes we are trying to achieve and how they might benefit you.


Benefits to South Australians

  • Collective goals developed by South Australians that unlock the state's social, economic and environmental potential.
  • Clear and adaptive priorities for South Australia that are responsible to current and future trends.
  • Policies that improve quality of life, employment opportunities and the experience of visitors

Planning tools that deliver this

Benefits to South Australians

  • Communities can better engage with the planning system via practical tools and easy-to-understand information.
  • Simplified information to improve understanding of the planning system and encourage greater participation earlier in the planning process.

Planning tools that deliver this

  • The Community Engagement Charter outlines the principles of good engagement that must be adhered to when developing or amending planning instruments.

Benefits to South Australians

  • Consolidation of South Australia’s 72 complex development plans into one set of easy-to-understand planning rules.
  • Delivering the Code electronically provides decision makers with the planning rules they need, saving time and improving consistency.

Planning tools that deliver this

Benefits to South Australians

  • One centralised place for all of South Australia’s planning and development matters.
  • An electronic planning system to simplify processes and speed up the movement of information, saving all users time and money
  • Improved consistency of all planning decisions, with legislative amendments implemented centrally under standardised interpretation

Planning tools that deliver this

  • ePlanning will simplify how community members, developers, decision makers and others interact with the planning system

Benefits to South Australians

  • A renewed focus on creating buildings and places that meet the needs of people.
  • Raising the benchmark of South Australia's built environment and character.
  • Enhanced community understanding of the importance of good design.

Planning tools that deliver this

Benefits to South Australians

  • New assessment pathways that provide increasing certainty for simple developments and a tailored approach for more complex developments.
  • Increased support for proposals that deliver real benefits to communities, such as roads, housing, infrastructure, community and business facilities.
  • Faster approvals, with fast tracking of deemed-to-satisfy applications, and more consistent planning rules for performance-based assessments.

Planning tools that deliver this

  • Assessment Pathways that allow for the development assessment process to flex with the complexity of the proposal.
  • Building Reform that will modernise the way we do building.

Benefits to South Australians

  • Greater confidence for applicants and communities that qualified and experienced professionals who undergo regular training are making planning decisions.
  • More options for development applicants providing faster turnaround times on development applications.
  • Recognition for professionals based on their skills and experience.

Planning tools that deliver this

Benefits to South Australians

  • Infrastructure that is identified, committed, costed and funded before it is required to be in place.
  • Helping councils deliver infrastructure in their local area that will ensure local neighbourhoods can grow and prosper.

Planning tools that deliver this

Benefits to South Australians

  • ePlanning enables accurate reporting on the planning system, automated from a central database and available to everyone.
  • Identifies adjustments in policies, legislation and administration.
  • Allows for continuous improvements and efficiencies in the planning system

Planning tools that deliver this

  • ePlanning to monitor activity within the planning system
  • Performance Indicators to ensure we are measuring the health of our planning system, so we can constantly improve

Benefits to South Australians

  • Preserves our unique natural landscapes, important environmental resources and renowned agricultural assets.
  • Supports sustainable development and better use of existing infrastructure by concentrating development within established areas.
  • Protects our food security, economic growth, local jobs and prized tourism areas as a premium producer of food and wine.

Planning tools that deliver this

Page last modified Monday, 26 November 2018