The Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016
(SA) (Act), which is designed to reform South Australia's
planning and development system and will repeal the Development Act
1993 (SA), has now been passed by both Houses of
The Act contains a new framework and structure which is intended
to establish a more efficient, transparent and collaborative
planning system and is the result of a review process spanning many
After being passed by the House of Assembly late last year, the
Legislative Council made a number of amendments to the Act.
On 12 April 2016, the House of Assembly agreed to pass the
Act as amended by the Legislative Council.
Key changes during passage through Parliament
Many amendments were made to the Act during its passage through
Parliament. It is therefore important that practitioners who had
some prior knowledge of the Act consider the Act as passed, as it
differs from the original Act in respect of many details.
Some significant changes made to the Act, during its passage
through Parliament, include:
Assessment of development applications –
the Act reduces the role of councils in assessing applications,
instead providing for applications to be assessed by one of a
number of other authorities depending on the nature, complexity
and/or location of the proposal. Whilst the Act initially
prohibited local councillors from sitting on development assessment
panels, the Legislative Council amended this to allow a limit of
one elected member per panel. However, a further amendment
allows the Minister to remove a council-appointed assessment panel
in certain circumstances.
Independent State Planning Commission's role in
respect of the Planning and Design Code – the
Commission was originally designed to replace the Development
Assessment Commission and the Development Policy Advisory Committee
by combining these assessment and advisory roles in one body.
The Code is to form the primary document against which
development applications are assessed and, amongst other things,
include a standard set of zones and overlays;
include subzones to address particular local character
feature updated land use definitions and use classes;
allow additional parties, such as infrastructure providers and
landowners, to initiate a rezoning.
During passage of the Act through
Parliament, the responsibility for preparing the Planning and
Design Code was changed from the Minister to the Commission.
The primary vehicle for amendments to the Planning and Design
Code and other designated instruments was also shifted to the
Commission, but the Minister retained an amendment initiation and
Infrastructure Delivery Schemes – under
the Act, infrastructure needs are to be identified, costed and
locked in prior to development commencing to enable the integration
of land use, transport and infrastructure planning. This is
intended to allow infrastructure costs to be equitably apportioned
at an early stage. To facilitate this, the Act provides for
new Infrastructure Delivery Schemes (IDS) which will replace
infrastructure agreements between developers and landowners.
As a result of amendments during passage through Parliament,
specific provisions apply in relation to the provision of basic
infrastructure in designated growth areas.
Community Engagement Charter – the Act
also provides for the establishment of a new Community Engagement
Charter to set benchmarks for community engagement in the early
stages of planning and policy making processes. During
passage through Parliament, the Act was amended to increase
consultation with local councils in respect of the drafting of the
Whilst the Act has been assented to, it is estimated that it
could take up to 5 years for the new planning system to be
implemented. The government has indicated that further
legislation dealing with the implementation of the new framework
will be introduced to parliament for consideration later this
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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