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February 2019

Message from the Executive Director

Sally Smith Sally Smith

We have hit the ground running this year with the release of South Australia’s inaugural State Planning Policies, draft regulations on the development assessment process, and the first iteration of the Planning and Design Code.

Our new State Planning Policies set out a single, state-wide vision for land use that will inform every new planning instrument under the new PDI Act. They were endorsed on 31 January 2019 and are now in effect and being used as we develop the new planning system.

2019 will be a year of consultation as we prepare the planning instruments and tools to support the new planning system. We kicked off the year with the release of draft regulations that set out the process and roles (and improvements) for development assessment in South Australia.

The State Planning Commission also released the first iteration of the Planning and Design Code, as it applies to Land Not Within a Council Area for public comment until 29 March 2019. For the first time practitioners and the community can see how the Code will operate and how it will connect and work with the other instruments.

This first iteration seeks to better meet the planning needs of remote and rural South Australians and address the planning issues relevant to the outback.

In the coming weeks we will also start an important conversation about how we protect and enhance the character of our neighbourhoods (established and new) and the tools in the new planning system that will help us do this. 

Our new planning system will have the most qualified professionals making development decisions via the Accredited Professionals Scheme. Approved last week and operational on 1 April 2019 (no joke), the Scheme aims to build trust in the planning and development system and a culture of continual learning and development.  

Amid the frenetic pace of reform, the Department has also undergone a re-alignment and I am delighted to have been appointed Executive Director of the Planning and Land Use Services Division. This new division brings together the important functions of Planning and Development, the Office of Design and Architecture and the Office of Local Government.

These changes unite the core functions that contribute to creating healthy and prosperous neighbourhoods, whilst also supporting our local government partners and their communities.

Best wishes

Sally Smith
Executive Director, Team PLUS

From the Commission Chair...

Michael Lennon Michael Lennon - Chair, State Planning Commission

Everywhere we look, public life is being transformed, challenged and renewed. From Europe and Brexit to the United States, the volatility in governments is causing us to question how we keep faith in public service.  How can we maintain confidence in what we do and the ways in which decisions are made?

The way we serve the public is vastly different from just a few years ago. New methods of digital communication and the speed of those communications enables people to be far more connected to information and each other than ever before.

This means that transparency in decision-making is paramount. Transparency builds trust, eliminates surprises and helps create a culture based on truth. Without it, scepticism and cynicism, increased levels of scrutiny and public mobilisation is the response.

In late 2018 the State Planning Commission announced changes to the way the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) would operate, enabling members of the public to hear first-hand about proposed developments for our state.

In light of this, the Commission has agreed to further open up its decision-making processes by reducing the number of confidential items on its meeting agendas and making minutes available on the Commission website.

We hope these additional measures will continue to build confidence and trust in the activities of the Commission, as well as your understanding of our decisions on development applications and the new planning system.

This year is going to be particularly significant in delivering the planning reform agenda. The new year has already kicked off with some major achievements, including the release of draft development assessment regulations, the finalisation of the State Planning Policies and consultation on Phase One of the Planning and Design Code. 

The Commission thanks the planning department staff, planning professionals and the community for their contributions to these important elements of the new planning system.  We are looking forward to releasing more elements shortly including the Design in the Planning System and People and Neighbourhoods policy discussion papers next month.

If you have additional suggestions on how we can better share news of Commission activities and decisions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

Michael Lennon
Chair, State Planning Commission

State Planning Policies inspire vision of growth

South Australia’s inaugural State Planning Policies are now in operation and for the first time capture the state’s planning interests in a single and consolidated vision.

They are highest level policy instrument in South Australia’s new planning and development system and aim to enhance the liveability, sustainability and prosperity of the state.

You can read more about the State Planning Policies on the SA Planning Portal.

Outback Code now on consultation

The first iteration of the Planning and Design Code as it applies to Land Not Within a Council Area (land outside of council boundaries) is on public consultation until 29 March 2019.

The Code brings about changes and improvements to the way planning is done in the outback and represents the first investment in rural and remote planning in more than ten years. 

A suite of support material is available and a live-streamed practitioner briefing will take place on Tuesday 26 February 2019. The planning reform team will visit communities in Coober Pedy, Andamooka, Marree and Yunta in March to talk about the Code and what it will mean for them. 

More information on the Code and opportunities to get involved is available on SA Planning Portal.

Have your say on new Development Assessment Regulations

Draft regulations that set out the development assessment process were released in January 2019, and seek to clarify and improve the way that development applications are assessed in the new planning system.

The draft regulations provide for more types of common home improvements to be exempt from planning approval and facilitate improved public notification (with more time for public comment), new signage requirements, and faster approvals for low-risk and expected proposals.

The draft regulations are on consultation until 5.00pm, Friday 1 March 2019 and all South Australians can have their say by lodging feedback via YourSAy.

Infrastructure Schemes to help unlock investment across SA

A key element of the new planning system is the introduction of a more equitable and transparent process for coordinating and delivering infrastructure. This will be realised through two new mechanisms: a Basic Infrastructure Scheme and a General Infrastructure Scheme.

Following three pilot projects last year, the Department has created a Practitioner’s Guide to Infrastructure Schemes.

To learn more about the three pilot projects, you can read the Outcomes Report or visit the SA Planning Portal.

Induction day for senior decision-makers

Members of the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) came together last month with the Building Committee and the State Planning Commission to learn more about each other’s responsibilities and functions.

Discussions between committee members helped establish new and collaborative ways of working together in order to deliver strong planning outcomes for the state. More information on these committees is available on the State Planning Commission website.

What you told us about performance indicators

Following public consultation on South Australia’s new performance indicators scheme, a summary of feedback received on this key instrument is now available in a ‘What We Have Heard’ report.

The proposed performance indicators scheme aims to better monitor, analyse and report on the kind of development activities taking place across the state with a view to better managing the performance of our new planning system.

The final performance indicators scheme will be submitted to the State Planning Commission and the Minister for Planning for approval later this year, with the new scheme officially commencing mid-2020.

Reminder - items on consultation

Don't forget to Have Your Say on the following items:

  • Planning and Design Code - Productive Economy Policy Discussion Paper - closes 22 February 2019
  • Development Assessment Regulations - closes 1 March 2019
  • Planning and Design Code - Phase One - closes 29 March 2019


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Page last modified Tuesday, 13 August 2019