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February 2020

From the Commission Chair...

Over the past few weeks, the Minister for Planning has made two significant announcements relating to planning reform. The first of these was the release of the Expert Panel Report into Heritage and Character in the Planning and Design Code in January. The second is his intention to reintroduce the Bill in Parliament which will facilitate a change in date for delivery of the new planning system.

The State Planning Commission has genuinely listened to your feedback on the draft Planning and Design Code (the Code). We are pleased that the Minister has accepted our recommendation to provide councils, industry and the community more time to understand and prepare for the Code’s implementation in the rural (Phase Two) and urban (Phase Three) areas of our State. The Bill will remove the deadline of 1 July 2020 for full implementation of the Code, enabling the timeframe to be set by proclamation in the South Australian Government Gazette.

This additional step and extension of time will allow users of the new ePlanning platform to become familiar, trained and business ready prior to its implementation and provide more time for South Australians to understand the new Code and how to navigate it. Please note that this will not result in a further period of consultation on the Code which has already had an extensive period of consultation.

As consultation on the draft Phase Two Code is complete, we expect Phase Two will now be implemented in July 2020. As Phase Three Code consultation is still open, the range of matters and potential for change is not yet fully known, however we expect a similar extension of time and as such anticipate that Phase Three will be implemented in September.

This extra time provides opportunity for people to see the finalised Code and ePlanning solution before the new system goes live. Ultimately, it will enable all stakeholders to feel comfortable and confident with the introduction of our new planning system.

In response to community concerns about heritage aspects of the Code, the Commission asked the Minister for Planning to reconvene the Expert Panel on Planning Reform to provide clarity on their original heritage recommendations as well as undertake a review of the heritage and character changes proposed by the Commission.

The Commission is reassured by the Expert Panel’s support for heritage and character reforms proposed in the new planning system. As this matter is still on public consultation, the Commission will continue to take into account all views to form a balanced approach to finalising the Code. A copy of the Report is now available on the SA Planning Portal.

Michael Lennon
Chair, State Planning Commission

Message from the Executive Director

The Christmas holidays may already seem like a distant memory but they provide a great opportunity to enjoy some clear headspace and time to think about the priorities for the year ahead. To that end, I want to share with you my top five priorities for the Planning and Land Use Services division. Not all of these will be delivered in 2020 but they will certainly be progressed during this year:

  1. Implement the ePlanning system.
  2. Work with the State Planning Commission to complete the Metropolitan Growth Management Plan to ensure target growth areas identified and planned.
  3. Work with regions to support regionalisation and commence regional planning.
  4. Reforms to the Local Government Act and implementation measures are in place.
  5. Put attention into other reform infrastructure i.e. design standards, off-set schemes, local design review and infrastructure scheme.

To help deliver the first of these priorities I am pleased to announce that Ray Partridge has already joined the Department as our new Planning Reform Program Director, replacing Marcus Bal. Ray is a project and program implementation specialist with strong change management skills and a record of successfully delivering highly customer centric solutions.

Ray has been involved with the delivery of a wide range of large, complex, high profile initiatives over the last decade; many of these within the public sector. It is great that Ray has been able to join us so quickly, ensuring continuity of leadership in the reform program and especially the delivery of our exciting new ePlanning system which will revolutionise the way planning is done in South Australia.

The gazettal of the regulations and Code of Conduct for Joint Planning Boards completes the final building blocks that underpin a new regional governance structure for the State, and in particular for local government. This is a significant milestone of the Planning Reform program, which has been achieved through a collaborative approach involving multiple councils, the Local Government Association and the Department. Going forward it will provide a great opportunity for regional local government to directly affect planning outcomes for their area.

Sally Smith
Executive Director, Team PLUS

Help for bushfire affected South Australians

In response to the devastating bushfires across South Australia, the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure is working closely with the State Planning Commission, other state agencies and affected local councils to ensure we are supporting communities to get back on their feet and begin the process of rebuilding our impacted communities.

The Department is particularly aware of the need for temporary accommodation options, particularly in the Adelaide Hills and on Kangaroo Island, as well as support to rebuild homes and other buildings which have been lost. We have set up a dedicated planning and building assessment response team which includes the Country Fire Service (CFS) to support local councils to handle the expected increases in development applications over the coming months. Many of the homes, farms and outbuildings that need to be rebuilt in high bushfire risk areas will require an updated planning and building assessment. The Department is committed to making this process as efficient as possible for affected land owners.

In terms of the planning reform roll out, the Department and the State Planning Commission in consultation with the Kangaroo Island Council have agreed to move the Council from Phase Two to Phase Three for Planning and Design Code implementation to provide more time for the Council to prepare for the introduction of the new planning system. The State Planning Commission has also provided in principle support for the Department to commence investigations for improvement to bushfire planning policy and associated spatial mapping of bushfire risk areas, with a view to initiating a Code Amendment following the full implementation of the Code.

We are also working on a number of regulatory changes to ensure those who have lost their homes and other buildings can get back onto their land as soon as possible to begin recovery and rebuild efforts. Updated guidelines and factsheets to assist with making development applications where they are needed are being prepared and will be made available very soon on the SA Planning Portal and will be distributed through emergency response centres and local councils.

Recent public infrastructure developments

Plympton International College eastern forecourt

In the past three months, the Crown and Major Developments team has completed the assessment of a number of state significant projects, including large scale renewable energy projects at Mintaro, Port Augusta and Twin Creek; school redevelopments at the Plympton International College and Grant High School; emergency services facility upgrades at the Lyell McEwin Hospital; diesel fuel storage tanks at Peterhead; and new park and ride facilities at the Paradise Interchange.

A total of 41 other state significant projects are under assessment – including the SA-NSW Interconnector, BHP Olympic Dam expansion, Southern Launch Orbital Launch facility, new gas peaking plants at Pelican Point and Tepko, and new birth to Year 12 schools at Whyalla, Aldinga and Angle Vale – with a combined development cost of $7.214bn.

Each of these projects will strengthen the local economy, either through the provision of improved public facilities and services, more secure and diverse energy sources, supporting new private sector investment and employment generation across the state.

An update on Joint Planning Board Regulations

Further to last month’s newsletter, more progress has been made in support of the establishment of Joint Planning Boards (JPBs). Regulations to facilitate the commencement of Planning Agreements and the establishment of Joint Planning Boards have now been gazetted and the Minister has endorsed a Code of Conduct to be observed by Joint Planning Board members.

The regulations set out a number of operational requirements necessary to support the establishment of JPBs, ensure JPBs are subject to FOI and ICAC legislation and clarify the status of JPBs as local government bodies for the purposes of insurance and financing.

The Code of Conduct sets out standards of conduct and professionalism and is similar to those that apply to the State Planning Commission, Accredited Professionals and Assessment Panel members. The Code of Conduct will be available on the SA Planning Portal shortly.

The gazettal of the regulations (page 216-226) and Code of Conduct mean the final legal building blocks are in place that underpin a new regional governance structure for South Australia under the new planning system.

SCAP Expression of Interest to open soon

With the current State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) membership expiring in May 2020, the State Planning Commission will soon be inviting expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals to be appointed to SCAP in the positions of Presiding Member, Deputy Presiding Member or ordinary member.

The SCAP will be delivering its functions during and beyond the transition phase to the new planning system under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

The Commission will seek to ensure that the members of SCAP collectively have qualifications, knowledge, expertise and experience in the following areas:

  • urban and regional planning, building, environmental management, or a related discipline
  • local government
  • urban or regional development, commerce or industry
  • environmental conservation or management, or the management of natural resources
  • the provision of facilities for the benefit of the community
  • urban design, building safety or landscaping design.

Potential SCAP members must hold or be eligible to be an Accredited Professional – Planning Level 2. Details on how to lodge an EOI will be available soon on the SCAP webpage.

Phase Three Code consultation closing

With only three weeks to go until consultation on the draft Planning and Design Code Phase Three (Urban Areas) closes at midnight on Friday 28 February 2020, a wealth of genuine feedback has already been received from councils, practitioners and the community.
Make sure you get your submission in on the Phase Three Code by:

  • completing the online consultation submission form
  • using the PDF submission template 
  • emailing your submission.

All submissions will be considered by the Commission when determining any changes to the draft Planning and Design Code. We also welcome your views on the proposals contained in the Planning and Design Code (Urban Areas) Code Amendment - Update Report which was released in December. The proposals contained in this Report will require the approval of the Minister prior to finalisation of the Code.

If you require assistance with accessing, reading or understanding the Code or the supporting materials, please contact us on 1800 318 102 or by email at

Adelaide (un)Planned

Adelaide (un)Planned is a new podcast exploring design and planning in Adelaide, presented by Michael McKeown and Daniel Bennett. Adelaide (un)Planned features conversations with some of Adelaide’s leading thinkers, planners and design professionals, selected for their opinions, insights, stories and good humour. Michael Lennon, Chair of the State Planning Commission, was invited to be one of the inaugural (un)lucky guests. The podcast covers discussion about well-known and changing places, streets and developments, and topical chats about landscape, transport, our environment, civic leadership and more. You can find Adelaide (un)Planned on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or Pocket Casts.

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Page last modified Tuesday, 13 August 2019