State Government grants Emergency Planning Powers
9 April 2020
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, variations to the Development Regulations 2008 under the Development Act 1993 have been passed to ensure the continued operation of the development system and avoid undue delays in the approval of applications.
The variations made by the State Government follow evidence of delays in processing applications due to the increased number of councils temporarily reducing or shutting core functions or through reduced staff numbers. The Minister’s powers will only be exercised where there is a clear and demonstrated delay to development applications, particularly where applications are of economic importance or significance.
The new Development (Public Health Emergency) Variation Regulations 2020 (PDF, 33 KB) enable a range of emergency planning powers and provide for:
- Ministerial call-in of development applications from councils where they cannot be assessed or there are significant delays in their assessment due to COVID-19.
- Removing the requirement for developments called in by the Minister or otherwise assessed by the State Planning Commission to be referred to the relevant council for advice – noting that where technical information is required from a council that can still be sought administratively.
- Amending the provisions relating to development applications referred to government agencies to require advice to be provided within 20 business days and requests for further information to be made within 5 business days.
- Ensuring that public meetings relating to development matters can be held by audio or audio-visual means.
- Ensuring that where required public inspection of development applications can be via the internet.
- Temporary removal of conditions of planning consent that limit the hours in which goods can be delivered to any premises specified in a notice on the SA Planning Portal by the Minister. These could include, for example, restaurants providing take-away meals, chemists or bottle shops.
These regulation variations will ensure the development system continues to operate even if a council is forced to temporarily close or is working under reduced staff levels. These changes will give South Australian communities, businesses and the development industry confidence that all necessary steps are being taken to ensure the coronavirus pandemic does not disrupt the continued flow of construction work across our state.