Planning, Development & Infrastructure Act 2016

New Planning Regime  

Following considerable public controversy and much debate in Parliament, the Planning, Development & Infrastructure Bill was passed by the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council with amendments in mid April 2016.  It received vice regal assent on 21 April 2016 and the Act is to commence on a date yet to be fixed by proclamation.  Changes to what has previously been the case to date under the Development Act 1993 include that the number of elected members of the local council who may serve on Assessment Panels (to decide upon planning applications) will be reduced to one.  Up to four other persons may be appointed as a member of an Assessment Panel.  Each member “must be an accredited professional”.  Regulations (yet to be promulgated) will establish an accreditation scheme with respect to persons who are to act (or who are seeking to act) as accredited professionals.  

A new State Planning Commission will replace the Development Assessment Commission.  Its functions will include acting as South Australia’s principal planning advisory and development assessment body. 

The public will have limited input into the development policy process.  They may be consulted early, at the strategy level, but not otherwise involved in the formulation of policy.


Categories of Development

For the purposes of assessment, development is to be divided into 3 categories, namely “accepted”, “code assessed” and “impact assessed”.  Either regulations or the new Planning and Design Code will classify what development is “accepted” and, as such, will not require planning consent.  Code assessed development is something of a dog’s breakfast.  Development is to be “code assessed” if classified by the Code as “deemed-to-satisfy development” or if it does not fall within “accepted development” and “impact assessed development”.  If classified as “deemed-to-satisfy development”, the development will not be subject to public notification or to submissions and must be granted planning consent.  A code assessed development which cannot be assessed, or fully assessed, as deemed-to-satisfy development is to be assessed on its merits against the Code.  To the extent that any element of the development will qualify as deemed-to satisfy under the Code that part will be taken to be granted planning consent and the remainder is to be assessed on its merits against the Code.  A development will be “impact assessed” if it is declared as such by the Minister or is so classified by the regulations or is classified by the Code as “restricted development”.


Notice, Review and Appeals

There is little notice of development required to be given and there are limited rights of review and appeal. 

Subject to the Code excluding specified classes of such development, if a development is to be assessed as code assessed development but cannot be assessed, or fully assessed, as deemed-to-satisfy development then notice of it must be given only to owners or occupiers of adjacent land and, by notice placed on the relevant land, to the public.  In such cases any person may make a representation to the relevant authority as to the grant or refusal of planning consent. 

An applicant for development authorisation has rights of review and appeal.  An owner or occupier of land the site of a proposed development or of adjacent land has a right of review of the decision as to the categorisation of a development.  The Commission will determine restricted development.  A representor may appeal against the Commission’s determination.  There will be no other third party appeal rights in respect of an application for planning consent.”