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Development Assessment

Our new planning system outlines an efficient and sustainable vision for the future of South Australia. To ensure this vision is maintained as planning instruments are introduced, an independent State Planning Commission has been established to act as the state’s principal planning advisory and development assessment body.

The Commission was formalised on 1 April 2017 with the commencement of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016. The inaugural chair, Mr Tim Anderson QC, has been appointed with the remaining members to be appointed shortly. It will comprise of four to six experts across a range of disciplines including economics, urban design, construction, social and environmental policy and public administration.

The Commission will operate with the support of the department, which will provide professional and technical expertise, administrative services and corporate resources, to assist in the performance of its functions.

Practice Directions and Guidelines

The planning system is complex and can often require experienced professionals to make procedural judgement calls. To support them, the new Act includes the ability for The Planning Commission to issue practice directions and guidelines.

A Practice Direction may specify procedural requirements relating to any matter under the legislation. Often these will be issues that are dealt with by regulation under the current Development Act 1993. Throughout the new Act there are many specific instances where the State Planning Commission is allowed to issue a Practice Direction.

Practice Guidelines will provide guidance on the interpretation of the Planning Rules or the Building Rules. This will be most helpful where some ambiguity or differing interpretations occur. Assessment authorities will be taken to be acting consistently with the Planning Rules or the Building Rules if they act in accordance with a practice guideline.

Relevant Authorities

A key part of our new planning system is selecting the most relevant authority to make decisions about proposed developments. Which authority is most relevant will be based on the scale, impact and risk of a development and its expectations in the given area. The appropriate authorities are:

  • the Minister
  • the State Planning Commission
  • an assessment panel (Council, Local, Regional, and Combined)
  • an assessment manager
  • an accredited professional.