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April 2020

From the Commission Chair...

This week marked a major signpost in our efforts to deliver the new planning system with completion of the formal Engagement Report for Phase Two (Rural Areas) of the draft Planning and Design Code and its submission to the Minister for Planning for his consideration.

The report summarises the engagement activities undertaken during the eight week Phase Two Code consultation period and provides the Commission’s recommended changes to the Phase Two Code based on the feedback received from councils, industry and the community.  This report will be made public on the Minister’s approval of the Phase Two Code.

While the way we work has changed dramatically over the past few weeks, we are making significant progress across major activities and projects which will help position South Australia well into the future.

The Festival Plaza project has finally broken ground and once complete will redefine Adelaide’s Riverbank precinct as a world-class space for events, dining, entertainment and leisure. The State Government’s announcement of an additional funding of $31 million takes into consideration revised design plans which include plans for increased capacity and sophisticated design features.

The relocation of the Old Royal Adelaide Hospital has created an important planning opportunity for South Australia in Lot Fourteen—a seven hectare site with Adelaide Park Lands status, six state heritage structures and close proximity to public transport, secondary and tertiary education facilities, hospitality and entertainment at the East End, North Terrace cultural institutions, retail and commercial precincts as well as the Adelaide park lands, riverbank precinct and the Royal Botanic Garden.

We welcome the Minister’s approval of the Lot Fourteen DPA today. With Renewal SA’s support, a number of significant responses to community concerns and suggestions were made as part of the consultation and collaboration process with stakeholders.

Further south, the State Planning Commission and the City of Onkaparinga have joined together to deliver the Onkaparinga Local Area Plan (OLAP) which will act as a component for the Metropolitan Growth Management (MGM) program across South Australia and will inform delivery of future stages in metropolitan Adelaide. A local engagement on this southern pilot, Looking Forwardcommenced this month with feedback sought from community leaders on the best ways to accommodate residential and employment growth in the City of Onkaparinga into the future.

On the heritage front, the Commission’s newly appointed specialist Heritage Sub-Committee will meet in May to consider the elevation of some 250 contributory items that meet the prescribed local heritage criteria across five different council areas. This is an important step in our planning for a strong future while ensuring we respect and honour our past.

Michael Lennon
Chair, State Planning Commission

Message from the Executive Director

It is heartening to see some good news with South Australia gaining traction to flatten the curve of COVID-19; however, we must keep playing our part. Our response to this outbreak will continue to change and evolve for some time to come.

Thank you all for your commitment to supporting the Department’s COVID-19 response and working together to ensure we are providing a consistent level of service to our customer groups, stakeholders and communities.

Whether you are working remotely from home or continuing to come in to work, your wellbeing and safety is important to us. Please remain vigilant and continue to uphold the recommendations of health experts, physical distancing and prescribed workplace etiquette.

As we draw closer to delivering the new planning system—which will be a cornerstone in our state’s economic recovery efforts in the months to come—let us continue to collaborate and support each other in planning a strong future for South Australia.

Now more than ever we need a planning system that will help drive our economic recovery by encouraging investment and stimulating infrastructure. Key amendments to the Development Regulations—temporary emergency planning powers and policies to support ‘value adding’ in SA’s regional areas—were announced by the State Government this month. These changes will ensure continued industry confidence and flow of work across the state and facilitate better opportunities for procedural and investment activities respectively.

I am also pleased to report on the successful completion of Phase Two Code testing with councils and industry partners. As part of the testing, the team successfully completed a rigorous two week verification check of the ePlanning system; the results have helped ensure Phase Two is ready to go live in July as scheduled.

Business readiness activities are well underway, with a progressive ramp-up of available training materials and support activities planned over coming weeks and months.

A staged roll-out of business readiness activities is occurring, starting with councils and is now being extended to include industry, government agencies and a range of other interested parties.

Whilst Phase Two is looming, our sights are now set on Phase Three of the Code, the final and most complex phase of the new planning system. With the Phase Three Code What We Have Heard Report expected to be published in May, submission assessment is progressing at pace with the team preparing to review and incorporate Code changes and conduct further testing prior to releasing the Code in the training environment.

Sally Smith
Executive Director, Team PLUS

Lot Fourteen gets the green light

The Minister’s approval of the Lot Fourteen (Old Royal Adelaide Hospital) Innovation Area Development Plan Amendment (DPA) today is a result of major collaboration between the Commission, key Government departments and the City of Adelaide as well as a number of community organisation such as the Friends of the Parklands and the South East Residents Association who provided submissions during the consultation period from 3 October to 27 November 2019 or were heard during the public hearing on 11 December.

This collaboration facilitated a number of important amendments to the DPA including:

  • additional policy to guide the location, design and landscaping for open space and the provision of a link for the Adelaide Park Lands Trail
  • additional policy to mitigate development impacts on the adjacent Adelaide Botanic Garden such as overshadowing, heat, light, wind and stormwater management
  • improved clarity regarding proposed building heights and the transition of development to adjacent precincts
  • introduction of a Concept Plan to provide improved spatial understanding of linkages, heritage and new building locations and areas of open space.

In addition, to achieve outstanding built form and public realm outcomes, developments will undergo design review through the Government Architect.

The Commission is extremely confident that Government departments and the City of Adelaide will continue to work together on this outstanding opportunity to deliver an innovation precinct for the State and a new public destination in the City.

State Government grants emergency planning powers

On April 9, new emergency planning powers were introduced by the State Government via changes to the Development Regulations to ensure the planning and development system can continue to operate effectively during COVID-19.

These urgent, temporary measures were made following some evidence of delays in processing development applications due to the increased number of councils temporarily reducing or shutting core functions or due to reduced staff numbers.

The Minister’s powers will be only be exercised where there is clear and demonstrated delay in development applications, particularly where applications are of economic importance or significance.

These new changes intend to ensure continuity of the development system as well as give South Australian communities, businesses and the development industry confidence that the COVID-19 pandemic does not disrupt the continued flow of construction work across the state.

New policies to support value adding development in SA’s rural areas

A second round of new amendments have been introduced to the current planning regulations to enable 'value adding development' in the General Farming, Primary Industry, Primary Production and Rural zones across the state.

The new ‘rural value adding’ amendments will enable development or change of use to a shop, tourist accommodation or food and beverage production industries.

These changes resolve current planning controls that are inconsistent and outdated, paving the way for greater diversification of activities in South Australia’s regional areas.

The variations reflect the policy reforms proposed for ‘value adding’ in the draft Planning and Design Code, which is due to be implemented in rural areas in July. By bringing these variations forward, appropriate assessment pathways will provide for greater procedural and investment certainty, particularly for value adding proposals already in the pipeline.

Trifecta of DPAs approved

In supporting the State's growth agenda, the Minister for Planning approved three Development Plan Amendments (DPAs) on 30 April.

The Devon Park Residential DPA rezones isolated industrial land currently occupied by Entech Electronics to enable low to medium density residential development compatible with the adjoining residential areas. The DPA will enable Entech Electronics to relocate and expand its operations whilst also enabling the 8000 square metre site to be developed with up to 40 townhouses to provide additional housing options in the inner Adelaide region. These new residences will be in close proximity to local parks and frequent bus and train services into the City.

In Playford Council two DPAs were approved. The Value Adding (Virginia) DPA will enable the significant expansion of the Mitolo Group processing facilities at Virginia, with the creation of a new Value Adding (Virginia) Policy Area in the Primary Production Zone, that applies to the Mitolo site on Angle Vale Road. The DPA will support the expansion of the Mitolo Group’s facilities by recognising the industrial/commercial nature of their activities and providing for larger-scale buildings and other value adding activities.

The Playford Health Precinct DPA has expanded the existing Suburban Activity Node Zone at Elizabeth Vale to facilitate expansion of the Playford Health Precinct centred on the Lyell McEwin Hospital (LMH). The DPA will support the role of the LMH by facilitating development of health facilities, mixed use development, housing and employment options for the northern metropolitan area and greater northern region of South Australia.

Quality assurance bolsters Phase Two Code testing

Over the past month Phase Two councils and key industry partners have had the opportunity to review and test the Code and its spatial mapping through a series of Quality Assurance (QA) activities. The QA activities focused on:

  • verifying that the links within the ePlanning system identify and link the appropriate policies relevant for each development type and to ensure that deemed-to-satisfy policies are clear
  • ensuring that relevant policies are accessible to Phase Two councils and key industry partners through online enquiry as part of the ePlanning system
  • ensuring the SA Property & Planning Atlas is updated to reflect the most current zoning.

Two rounds of tests have now been completed with over 95 scenarios externally tested by councils and industry, and 60 scenarios internally tested by DPTI. The findings and results from the QA activities are included as part of the Commission’s final recommendations to the Minister for Planning in the Phase Two Section 73 Engagement Report.

Phase Two Engagement Report marks major milestone for P&D Code

Another important milestone has been achieved with the Commission’s endorsement of the Section 73 Engagement Report for Phase Two of the Code. Team PLUS is working hard to deliver the new planning system on time; with this report, the implementation Phase Two of the Code is expected to be rolled out in July as scheduled.

The Phase Two Engagement report reflects the Commission’s key amendments and recommendations to the Minister of Planning in response to feedback received during formal public consultation and Quality Assurance activities conducted as part of testing of the Phase Two Code.

The report has now been submitted for the Minister’s consideration and will be released publicly on the SA Planning Portal once the Minister approves the Phase Two Code.

Business readiness in full swing for Phase Two Code implementation

Phase Two council business readiness activities commenced on 18 March and are now well underway. The program is midway through meeting with Phase Three councils in relation to commencement of their business readiness activities.

An important component of the business readiness approach are regular meetings with individual councils. These meetings are an opportunity for the program and councils to share information, raise questions, queries and thoughts as well as forward plan upcoming business readiness activities tailored to council needs. The latest iteration of the e-Planning system has now been demonstrated to all Phase Two and Three councils via a number of methods including on line demonstrations as well as access to videos of system demonstrations.

Structured training support materials are currently in development with the first set of materials to be made available in coming weeks. These materials will include – training videos, user guides and other support materials.

A training environment has also been established. Council access to this training environment will be provided soon. This will provide councils with an opportunity to use the system and put into practice the knowledge gained from the training videos and user guides.

Joint governance oversight of council business readiness activities, between the program and the LGA has been in-place since early April. Over the coming weeks, business readiness activities will be extended to include a range of industry groups, referral agencies and a host of other interested parties.

Specialist Heritage Sub-Committee appointed

The State Planning Commission has appointed a specialist Heritage Sub-Committee for a period of two years.

The Sub-Committee, scheduled to meet in May, will discuss and review Statement of Intents (SOIs) for proposed local heritage listings, ensuring that the listing are well justified against the prescribed local heritage criteria. In addition, the members will also hear and consider owner objectors and make final recommendations to the Minister through the Commission.

A total of five heritage SOIs have been lodged by Councils following a review of their contributory items against the local heritage criteria. The listing process is expected to be completed by end of the 2020 to early 2021.

The Sub-Committee membership is as follows, with three members required to consider each Development Plan Amendment:

  • Allan Holmes (chair)
  • Craig Holden (deputy chair)
  • Bruce Harry
  • Deborah Lindsay
  • Ron Danvers
  • Elizabeth Little
  • Jenny Newman
  • Representative of Heritage SA, Department of Environment and Water

These members have been appointed within a short time to meet the timeframes associated with the SOIs and the implementation of the new planning system. The Commission intends to conduct an advertised expression of interest for Heritage Sub-Committees in the future.

August 3: e-Conveyancing to become mandatory

South Australia will become the fourth Australian state to mandate e-Conveyancing. From 3 August 2020, electronic lodgement of documents with Land Services SA will be mandatory and apply to all documents currently electronically enabled (approximately 92 per cent of the total dealings lodged).

Property settlement documents will be required to be lodged digitally; providing conveyancers, financial institutions and the Government’s Land Registry with enhanced transparency, efficiency and security.

Industry adoption of electronic conveyancing (e-Conveyancing)—the exchange of property online—has grown steadily since it was first made available in July 2016, with recent lodgement of transfers doubling between January and March 2020.

The decision to mandate e-Conveyancing follows comprehensive industry consultation over an extended period of time and aims to facilitate a smoother and easier process to purchase a house or property by:

  • further streamlining the property transaction process;
  • removing geographical barriers from property transactions; and
  • reducing delays and failed paper settlements.

Electronic Lodgement Network Operators (ELNOs) are readying to assist practitioners to transition to e-Conveyancing with training and information support to be made available soon.

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Page last modified Tuesday, 13 August 2019