Planning Reform – the Next Steps

Now that the new planning reform legislation has passed through the SA Parliament, it will be subject to a five year implementation program.  Here are some thoughts on the next steps and highlights from the Act, from Lawyer James Blindell (originally posted on LinkedIn):


May 3, 2016

The Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 was assented to on 21 April 2016. Many were surprised that the Government accepted the Legislative Council amendments but politics is the art of compromise!

There is a 5 year implementation program that is meant to include stakeholder engagement and the testing of new systems and frameworks.

The steps along the way to implementation include: amending all the Acts and Regulations that interact with the Development Act 1993; establishing the State Planning Commission and the SA Planning Portal; developing the (non-enforceable) Community Engagement Charter; drafting Regulations to support the Act; and drafting State Planning Policies, the Planning and Design Code and Design Standards.

 A few highlights from the Act:

  1. The membership of every assessment panel can include one current Elected Member of a Council provided that the person is an “accredited professional” or is appropriately qualified due to their Local Government experience.
  2. In regard to access to neighbouring land, the Environment, Resources and Development Court will determine any dispute.
  3. Some powers of the Planning Minister will be vested in the Planning Commission.
  4. Environment and Food Production Areas are to be established to curb urban growth – check out the map at the Planning Reform website (
  5. Heritage character designation or preservation zoning of an area under the Planning and Design Code will require the agreement of a majority of the owners in the area.

Minister Rau has indicated in Parliament that he “intend(s) the cooperative partnership, forged in the negotiation of the passage of this bill, to continue in the implementation phase.”

James Blindell, Lawyer
“Finding Affordable Solutions”
Planning & Development, Local Government,
Environmental, Heritage, Natural Resources.

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