Consultation on South Australia's new planning system continues with the release of further documents

By Nicole Besgrove, Claire Smith

13 Sep 2018

The South Australian Government is continuing its consultation on the State's planning reforms with the release of three additional documents relevant to the development assessment processes and its monitoring.

Following on from the release of the 16 draft State Planning Policies (draft SPPs) and policy discussion papers on integrated movement systems and natural resources and environment earlier this month, the South Australian Government has now released further planning documents for consultation:

  • the Assessment Pathways Technical Discussion Paper;
  • the Performance Indicators Discussion Paper; and
  • the Accredited Professionals Scheme Draft.

Submissions can be made by Wednesday 17 October 2018.

Assessment Pathways Technical Discussion Paper

The new planning and development system under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 includes the following assessment pathways which will be in effect by July 2020:

  • Accepted development: development which does not require planning consent or may require building consent only. This will generally include minor and standard applications. For example, development which is standard or expected in its location, does not require an assessment of impact, and is quantifiable and measurable.
  • Code assessed development: development which requires assessment against the Planning and Design Code and is not impact assessed or accepted development. Development applications are assessed on their merits as either deemed-to-satisfy development or performance assessed development.
  • Impact assessed development: development which warrants the highest level of assessment and is classified by the Planning and Design Code as restricted development; or classified by either the regulations or declared by the Minister as being impact assessed (not restricted) development, the latter of which will require an Environmental Impact Statement. Development applications are assessed based on their impact in each individual circumstance, rather than a performance assessment against established criteria in the Code.

Exempt development is not a category of development under the Act per se, but it will apply to those forms of development that do not require planning or building approval. .

The Assessment Pathways Technical Discussion Paper outlines what will occur at each stage of the application process up to and including the appeals process. Any feedback received during consultation will inform the drafting of Regulations, Practice Directions, guidelines, and the policy framework within the Planning and Design Code.

Performance Indicators Discussion Paper

The Performance Indicators Discussion Paper sets out a new way of monitoring development assessment processes under the new planning system, including numbers and types of applications, decisions being made, assessment timeframes and a range of other planning-related data.

Currently, monitoring the development system in South Australia involves:

  • the requirement for the Minister for Planning to prepare annual reports on the administration of the Act and the implementation of the Planning Strategy for South Australia, both of which are required to be presented to Parliament; and
  • the "System Indicators Program" which collects and analyses statistical data on statutory actions and decisions about planning and development supplied quarterly by councils and their development assessment panels, state government agencies involved in consultation and referrals, the State Commission Assessment Panel, private building certifiers and the Environment, Resources and Development (ERD) Court.

It is proposed that an entirely new System Indicators Scheme be established that could include annual standard statistics on the following in addition to those statistics collected (or equivalent) by existing System Indicators Program:

  • proportions of applications processed within legislated timeframes;
  • proportion of performance assessed applications subject to public notification;
  • number of essential infrastructure and crown development applications lodged;
  • numbers of deemed consents issued;
  • numbers of deemed consents appealed by relevant authority;
  • total value of applications approved by development type; and
  • proportions of planning applications determined by Council employed accredited professionals or privately employed accredited professionals.

It is understood that following consideration of the feedback received on this Discussion Paper, a "What We Have Heard" report will be released and the scheme will then be developed, approved by the State Planning Commission and the Minister, and made operational through the ePlanning platform.

Accredited Professionals Scheme Draft

To ensure that the planning and building professionals who will be involved in assessing development applications under the new planning system are suitably qualified and experienced, an accredited professionals scheme is being developed.

The Accredited Professionals Scheme Draft which has been released for consultation includes the Accredited Professionals Regulations, the Accredited Professionals Skills and Experience Requirements, and the Accredited Professionals Code of Conduct. Accredited professionals will (amongst other things) be required to:

  • maintain minimum standards of professional practice;
  • produce evidence to demonstrate that they are sufficiently qualified to make key decisions at certain levels;
  • once accredited, be registered in a central database managed by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure; and
  • hold all necessary insurance;
  • comply with a strict code of conduct;
  • participate in annual compliance checks; and
  • undertake specified units of Continuing Professional Development.

Have your say

Submissions with respect to the latest planning documents can be made until Wednesday 17 October 2018 in the manner specified on the SA Planning Portal.

If you require any assistance with the preparation of a submission on any of the South Australian planning documents which are now available for consultation please contact us.

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