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December 2019

From the Commission Chair...

The planning reform program has generated considerable momentum this year. We recognise that for councils, industry, planning professionals and community organisations this has also created considerable work demands and resource issues. This is a necessary consequence of reforms at this scale and the Commission thanks you for your efforts to date.

For our part, the year has included a number of significant milestones including:

  • implementation of the State Planning Policies
  • release of various papers on Renewable Energy Policies, People and Neighbourhoods, Heritage and Character and Design in the Planning System
  • statutory consultation on Phase One (Land Not Within Council Areas) of the draft Code; which subsequently went live on 1 July 2019
  • statutory consultation on Phase Two (Rural Areas) of the draft Code and continued consultation on Phase Three (Urban Areas)
  • consultation on ten Ministerial Building Standards and a number of Practice Directions
  • establishment of Planning Agreements and Joint Planning Boards involving 26 regional councils
  • plus progress on Development Plan Amendments for City of Adelaide, Devon Park, Lot Fourteen and Lonsdale Residential.

Recognising substantial community concern, major effort was instigated to improve the quality of residential infill through a series of Commission sponsored forums. We also engaged with SA’s universities on the future of tertiary education for planners and SA’s retailers on the changing state of the retail sector plus initiated two new projects on metropolitan growth management and co-housing opportunities.

Internally, we recalibrated the Commission’s membership; released our 2018-2019 Annual Report and 2019-2020 Strategic Plan and undertook a review of the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) that led to the introduction of improved transparency measures including making all SCAP meetings open to the public.

During 2019, the SCAP assessed over 400 land use applications with a development cost of $2.132 billion, supporting significant private investment in South Australia. In addition, 257 crown developments with a development cost of $4.438 billion were assessed to enable the Minister for Planning to review and approve new education, health, emergency services, port and energy facilities.

We recognise however that there is still much work to do in getting the draft Planning and Design Code finalised following consultation and making it publicly available through the ePlanning platform. The release of the Planning and Design Code Phase Three (Urban Areas) Code Amendment – Update Report today aims to reassure stakeholders and the community that we are listening and will address concerns whenever possible.

I wish you a relaxing and safe holiday period.

Michael Lennon
Chair, State Planning Commission

Message from the Executive Director

What a busy but rewarding 2019 we have had! The year kicked off with the establishment of the Planning and Land Use Services (PLUS) Division following a restructure of the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI). In this short period of the time, we have achieved a great deal.

Whilst many of these achievements have been highly visible as part of the planning reform roll out, there have been just as many successes in other areas of our business.

The Office of Local Government made significant progress in the Local Government Reform Program and establishing the Local Government Boundary Commission, whilst the Outback Communities Authority provided terrific support for our outback communities, with new water stations at Marla and Oodnadatta, and new public conveniences at Innamincka. The MUNS team visited over 30 communities from Coorong to Maralinga to conduct an audit of all municipal services and infrastructure on Aboriginal Lands.

Equally impressive was the Land and Built Environment team’s result of 2700 land division applications, 3000 certificates of approval, 13,000 new allotments and 3800 property interest reports generating $35 million in revenue! Beyond the stats they also updated the State’s Development Activity Tracker and 3D Adelaide model; spatially applied all the Code’s overlays, zone and subzones; progressed building reform, compliance and building safety; undertook tree canopy modelling across our suburbs; released State population projections and completed Phase One and Two of the Cladding Audit Project. In addition the team contributed to the National Positioning Infrastructure project, continued to improve the spatial and physical property cadastres plus oversaw the statutory roles of the Surveyor-General.

Not to be outdone, the team from the Office for Design and Architecture SA (ODASA) received an AILA National Award of Excellence, as well as PLA’s Park of the Year and Playspace Awards; undertook 44 Design Review sessions as well as a comprehensive review of the program; embedded the Principles of Good Design in the State Planning Policies; curated the 3D Adelaide Exhibition in collaboration with the Land and Built Environment team and contributed to numerous Government infrastructure projects, including the Gawler Rail Electrification Project and Schools Capital Works Program.

Over 2018-2019 DPTI’s Planning Reform team, together with the Commission, has received over 1370 submissions, conducted more than 360 engagement events, and travelled nearly 70,000km to visit councils and out-of-council regions.

Whilst it is important to celebrate our successes, the holidays are also a great time to reflect on those areas where we can perhaps do better.

Enjoy your break with your family and friends, and I look forward to what 2020 will bring.

Sally Smith
Executive Director, Team PLUS

Commission releases Phase Three Code Update

The State Planning Commission has released the Planning and Design Code Phase Three (Urban Areas Code Amendment - Update Report at the half-way point of consultation on the draft Planning and Design Code. This report sets out some of the key issues and opportunities to improve the Code, which have arisen through the consultation process to-date. The report also highlights some of the Commission’s key proposals and opportunities for improvement to the draft Code, including a range of technical and policy matters.

Given the status of the consultation process, this report is not intended to be a full summary of all proposed changes to the draft Code. It has been developed to support the remaining Phase Three consultation process (which is running over a five month period) and to be transparent about some of the Commission’s early proposals to improve the Code. It is anticipated that this report will assist stakeholders in finalising their submissions on Phase Three of the draft Code by 28 February 2020.

Phase Three Historic and Character Statements now on consultation

The Commission is including Historic and Character Area Statements in the draft Code to support the Historic Area and Character Area Overlays. These Statements will help to clearly identify the key elements of local neighbourhood historic and character importance with any proposal for new development in these areas required to consider and respect these local features and characteristics, for example, specific building materials, roof forms or architectural building styles.

Historic Area Statements for 27 Phase Three Council areas and Character Area Statements for 12 Phase Three Council areas have now been published on the SA Planning Portal for public consultation to 28 February 2020. Councils were invited to draft their own Statements based on Development Plan policy with many participating in the process. The results of consultation will help inform refinement of the Historic Area and Character Area Statements across the State. Land owners affected by the Historic Area Overlay will be directly notified early in the New Year.

Significant Joint Planning Board Progress

We are delighted to advise that there has been significant progress in the establishment of Joint Planning Boards across the State during 2019. On the 10th December Port Augusta Council formally resolved to form a Joint Planning Board with Whyalla and Port Pirie Councils, bringing together all three councils from the Spencer Gulf Cities.

Port Augusta Council’s decision to join Whyalla and Port Pirie, who had previously resolved to form a Board earlier in the year, was made following recent Planning and Design Code consultation workshops held with Council’s executive team, elected members and planning staff. The next step is to prepare a Planning Agreement for signature with the Minister, prior to establishing the Board.

Executive Director of PLUS Division, Sally Smith said: “I am thrilled with this result which is a credit to the Councils and their relationship with David Lake their Council liaison officer. This is a key milestone in the planning reform program and the start of an exciting new approach with our regional Councils.”

The Spencer Gulf Cities are not the first group to commit to establishing a Board. In August this year all ten Councils on Eyre Peninsula formally resolved to be party to a Board for their region, and the Eyre Peninsula LGA is currently preparing the Planning Agreement on their behalf.

The seven Councils in the Limestone Coast are also well on track, with the Limestone Coast LGA close to finalising their Planning Agreement for endorsement by the Councils early in 2020. In addition the Copper Coast, Barunga West and Yorke Peninsula Councils are finalising their business case for establishing a Yorke Peninsula Board. And the Barossa, Light and Gawler Councils are finalising their business case to form a Board closer to Adelaide.

Under the new planning system, formation of Joint Planning Boards will enable local government to prepare Regional Plans providing future planning direction for each region. We now have 26 Councils in five groups that are well advanced to forming a Joint Planning Board for their regions.

Minister endorses latest State Population Projections

The Local Area Population Projections for South Australia 2016-36 are now available for download on the SA Planning Portal. These projections are for local areas (LGAs and SA2s) over the 20 year period 2016-36 and consider the implications of demographic change and projected development trends. The projections supersede the 2011-2031 projections published in 2015 and have been endorsed by the Minister for Planning.

Closure of Office of State Coordinator-General

With the closure of the Office of the State Coordinator-General (OSCG) on 31 December 2019, DPTI’s Chief Executive Tony Braxton-Smith has been appointed the State Coordinator-General until 31 June 2020 with management of active OSCG projects transferred to DPTI’s Commercial and Legal Section. Please contact Graeme Jackson, Director Legal and Statutory Services on 7109 7711 or email with any enquiries relating to OSCG projects, details of which are available on the SA Planning Portal. As always, the PLUS Division development assessment team are also available to provide assistance and advice. It has been a pleasure working with Jim Hallon and his team, we wish them well in the future.

2019-20 Open Space and Places for People grant round is now open

Councils are invited to apply for grant funding to improve South Australia’s public spaces, create more green open space and support local jobs through the 2019-20 Open Space and Places for People grant programs.

This latest round of funding seeks to support the development and improvement of quality public open space, to revitalise public spaces that are important to communities and to facilitate the purchase of strategic open space for public use.

“This is a great opportunity to green our city and to keep Adelaide as one of the most liveable cities in the world,” said Minister for Planning Stephan Knoll. “This fund will help to build better parks, plant more trees and increase public open space,” he said.

Last year $13.3 million was invested to help fund 31 projects through the Open Space and Places for People programs, including:

  • $1.9 million for the redevelopment of main street and town centre precincts in Victor Harbor, Clare, Kingston SE and Strathalbyn
  • $1.7 million for Stage One of the City of Holdfast Bay’s Jetty Road upgrade
  • $1.7 million for the City of Marion’s Tonsley Greenway project (a cycling and walking path connection to the Tonsley Innovation District and the Flinders Hub)
  • $842,000 to support the development of safe shared use trails and trail precincts in Mount Barker, Port Lincoln and Port Wakefield
  • $577,500 for the City of West Torrens’ redevelopment of the playspace at Kings Reserve in the western suburbs.

The Department is now seeking applications from local government across South Australia for funding of eligible projects through the 2019-20 Open Space and Places for People grant programs. Applications are sought by 4.00 pm, 31 March 2020. Further information is available on the SA Planning Portal.

New solar panels variation will help our farmers

On 28 November 2019, the Development (Solar Panels) Variation Regulations 2019 were gazetted. The change to these regulations will allow for planning approval of freestanding solar panel systems for farming and horticultural uses. The change will benefit horticulturists or farmers wishing to install small-scale freestanding solar panel systems to improve efficiency and reduce energy costs, and will not apply in residential or other urban areas.

At present, solar panel systems with a generating capacity of up to 5MW located on the roofs of existing buildings and installed by suitably accredited persons are generally exempt from development approval. The new exemptions will apply to small-scale freestanding solar panel systems with a generating capacity up to 30kW in rural farming areas from requiring development plan consent, subject to meeting a 4 metre height restriction and adequate separation from dwellings or adjoining allotments not associated with the development.

Where proposed freestanding solar panel installations do not meet the height and separation requirements they will continue to be assessed against relevant Development Plan policies and processes.

DPTI Office Closure

Please be advised that the Planning and Land Use Division of Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure will be closed from Monday 23 December 2019 and will reopen on Thursday 2 January 2020. We wish you a merry Christmas and a safe holiday season.

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Page last modified Tuesday, 13 August 2019