30-Year Plan

The State Government’s 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide was adopted in 2010 and the draft Update was released on 25th August 2016 for public feedback.

Our response – 2016-10-21-community-alliance-sa-response-30-year-plan-update

In brief:

  • The Community Alliance SA supports the overall aim of having a more compact city and accommodating growth within Adelaide’s existing footprint
  • A lot of damage has already been done and there are major challenges in supporting the growing greenfield areas, protecting our character suburbs, and guarding against ad hoc development
  • The draft Update doesn’t describe the process for local planning and gives no assurance that communities will have much input
  • There is a glut of high-rise apartments in Australian cities, with a shortfall in family friendly dwellings – there should be a public review of high-rise policy for the City
  • Appropriate densities and building heights for established character suburbs and main streets should be re-investigated – buildings above 5 storeys are unlikely to be necessary or appropriate in established suburbs and high streets outside of the CBD
  • The updated 30-Year Plan should recognise Greater Adelaide’s traditional high streets and encourage the adoption of policies  as described in our BLUEPRINT – Preserving and Enhancing Adelaides Traditional High Streets Aug 2016
  • Better policies are needed for integrating taller buildings to ensure a human scale and pleasant environment at street level
  • The Update has limited recognition of the value of and need to protect our heritage assets, in terms of their historical context and the character that they add to neighbourhoods
  • Rather than continuing an aggressive infill policy in established areas, better infill and renewal opportunities should be investigated in a collaborative and open process
  • A priority should be to fix the problems for existing fringe developments to improve outcomes at broadacre developments, eg Mount Barker, Buckland Park and Gawler East
  • There is no justification for using the high population growth projection  (other than not wanting to get “caught short”) and the medium series, which is “considered to be the likely outcome based on past trends”, should be used instead
  • The Plan should be able to respond to a range of scenarios, with trigger points as actual population growth occurs – this forward and clever planning is lacking from both the current plan and the Update

As the focus shifts towards more infill in major sites and within  existing suburbs, it is vital that communities and local councils be included in genuine and collaborative discussions about where and how development should occur.  It is essential that future development is done sensitively and in the context of local neighbourhoods and desired character, rather than with a blanket approach.  Unfortunately, the planning reforms to date lead us to believe that councils and communities will be substantially excluded from the planning decisions that affect them.


Prior to release of the draft, the Community Alliance SA provided feedback to the Government through its representation on the Reference Group of stakeholder and interest groups (two meetings held in 2015).  Here is a link to the Reference Group membership.

Our five hot issues for updating the 30-Year Plan (summarised from May 2015 submission to DPTI for the Reference Group process) were:

The aim of the Plan to reduce sprawl and focus more growth in the city is good, but there is a lot of unrest in the community about how this is being done:

  1.  There is a major flaw in that the Plan is based entirely on an assumed population growth figure, rather than being able to respond to a range of scenarios.   There is no public discussion on what population numbers are desirable or how to influence population growth.
  2. The Plan doesn’t adequately address overarching issues like the environment, climate change, food and water security, employment, poverty, health and social wellbeing.
  3. The growth areas on the fringes were selected by a group of consultant planners employed by both developers and government, raising questions about the independence and value of the Plan.  Most of these areas have already been rezoned for broadacre developments and more sprawl is now inevitable.
  4. The city and inner suburbs may not have the infrastructure to accommodate the population increase, and the amenity and character of those areas are in danger of being lost.
  5. The Government’s Transport Plan was produced as an after-thought to the 30-Year Plan.  These need to be reviewed together to better guide Greater Adelaide’s future development and transport infrastructure.

The Community Alliance SA wants the Government to:

 1.  Fix the problems in existing growth areas

  • The rezoned City and inner suburbs areas need better policies for integrating taller buildings to ensure a human scale and pleasant environment at street level.
  • Six to ten storey buildings may not be necessary or appropriate in these areas, and lower densities and building heights should be investigated.
  • Broadacre developments like those at Mount Barker, Buckland Park and Gawler East have been widely condemned for being badly planned, and were given the go-ahead without provision for necessary infrastructure. The problems in these areas need to be fixed as a priority.

2.  Prevent further sprawl

  • Rezoning of further broadacre land for urban development should be put on hold, eg the planned developments at Roseworthy (initially for 2,000 dwellings and then up to 40,000 dwellings) and Concordia (for 5,500 dwellings).
  • A strong urban growth boundary needs to be put in place, which cannot be altered with a simple change in government policy. This needs to zone and protect food production areas.

 3.  Commit to better infill and renewal

Rather than continuing an aggressive infill policy in established areas, better infill and renewal opportunities should be investigated, for example:

  • There are 240,000 theoretical minor infill opportunities across metropolitan Adelaide and 30-50% of this could be realised in housing over the next 30 years.
  • The ability to accommodate growth in the middle ring suburbs with sympathetic medium density development (3-4 storeys).

4.  Review the 30-Year Plan and Transport Plan alongside each other.

  • Busy arterial roads may not be suitable for high density residential accommodation, for a number of reasons including health and social impacts. A review needs to look at what future roads will be affected as freight accesses the upgraded north-south corridor.
  • Transport needs must be properly addressed if growth on the fringe continues eg at Mount Barker, Buckland Park and Gawler East.

5.  Give councils and communities more say

The present aggressive infill policy has led to wide-spread community unrest in areas like the City, inner suburbs and Charles Sturt.  For example:

  • Charles Sturt has lost valuable open space like the Cheltenham Racecourse and the St Clair Reserve.
  • a seven-storey 150-apartment and shopping complex has been approved for Unley Road, where the height limit is five storeys
  • a modern concrete and steel four-storey development is likely to be approved in Prospect in a narrow side street in an attractive older area.  The residents of Prospect were told that multi-storey developments would be restricted to main roads and not creep into the residential areas.
  • The Makris Group has submitted plans for North Adelaide’s Le Cornu site, including a sixteen-storey apartment block as well as commercial and retail space, and only people living in the immediate vicinity of the site can comment.
  • The structure planning for a large broadacre development at Concordia is being undertaken without the community in adjacent Gawler being involved.

Councils and communities are being side-lined from major planning decisions.  This update is an opportunity to improve on community input into the 30-Year Plan Plan itself and how the strategy is implemented in the future.  Planning needs to be for people, not just buildings and population numbers.

We are an umbrella organisation representing resident and community groups. Dedicated to 'Putting the People back into Planning and Development in SA', our goal is a planning and development process which is accountable, transparent and sustainable, and that guarantees genuine community engagement.