April 2016


Normans Alert

Parliament passes PDI Bill

Earlier this week, the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill 2015 (Bill), as amended in the Legislative Council, was passed by the Lower House.

This means that the Bill is now in its final form - although, it won't be replacing the Development Act 1993 for some time yet!

While it was widely thought that the Government would seek additional changes to the Bill to ‘undo’ some of the amendments made by the Legislative Council, this did not occur. Instead, the Government decided to not pursue further changes in order to enable the planning reforms to progress.

The Bill, in its final form, includes some significant amendments. The most notable include: 
  • The transfer of a number of powers and functions from the Minister to the State Planning Commission, and the inclusion of additional consultation requirements with councils and the LGA.
  • Up to one current Elected Member may be appointed to an assessment panel, and former Elected Members are also eligible for appointment. In each case, the Member need not be an “accredited professional” if the designated authority appointing him or her is satisfied that the Member is appropriately qualified on account of their experience in Local Government.
  • Two infrastructure delivery schemes:
    • a basic infrastructure scheme for the provision of electricity, gas, water, sewerage, telecommunications and stormwater infrastructure in designated growth areas where land division, rezoning or urban infill is likely occur; and

    • a general infrastructure scheme for the delivery of "essential infrastructure".

  • Funding arrangements for general infrastructure schemes relating to health, education, police, justice, emergency service and transport infrastructure will require approval from all persons who own land within the relevant contribution area (other than land such as community land, public roads, Crown land or land under the care, control or management of the Urban Renewal Authority).

  • A requirement for a Commissioner-led inquiry into essential infrastructure schemes, including that an essential infrastructure scheme inquiry report to be laid before both Houses of Parliament before a proclamation can be made for the operation of the general infrastructure scheme provisions.

  • A principle requiring the Planning and Design Code (Code) and other “designated instruments” (which include regional plans and design standards) to be drafted to “achieve consistency while providing for local variations that reflect special or unique character at the local level”.

  • Greater emphasis on designated instruments addressing the adaptive re-use of buildings, access inclusion planning, and climate change.

  • The power to establish a so called urban growth boundary (“environment and food production areas”) remains in the Bill, as the Legislative Council re-considered its initial decision to delete this clause. The first environment and food production areas are to be as shown in GRO Plan 17/2015. These boundaries must be reviewed every five years. 

  • The Greater Adelaide region has been determined as the area shown in GRO Plan 16/2015.

  • Interim amendments to the Code or a design standard will (if they continue in operation after they cease to be on interim operation) apply to pending development applications.

  • A requirement for the majority of owners within an area proposed to be designated as a heritage character or preservation zone to agree to the proposal before such an amendment can be made to the Code.

  • The ERD Court, not councils, will be the arbitrator of disputes over permitting access to neighbouring land.

  • The power to require certain building upgrade matters to be addressed before the grant of building rules consent where an upgrade is required to a building in an unsafe, unsound, unhealthy condition or is not compliant with disability access requirements;

  • Amendments to Sections 221 and 222 of the Local Government Act 1999 to include a requirement for a council to give its concurrence or be consulted prior to an accredited professional or other relevant authority (but not a council appointed assessment panel) granting a development authorisation which also includes an alteration to a public road or use of a public road for business purposes.

The passage of the Bill marks a significant step in the planning reform process. However, it is but the first step. The next phases of the process will involve:
  • The introduction and passing of a second bill through Parliament which would amend the many Acts and Regulations which currently interact with the Development Act 1993.
  • The drafting of new Planning, Development and Infrastructure Regulations to support the Bill.

  • The drafting of the new Code, design guidelines and policies.

  • The creation of the SA planning portal.

  • The establishment of a local government sector advisory committee to provide advice to the Minister on the implementation of the Act.

We understand that some of these steps are already underway and anticipate that they will be the subject of consultation in due course. Norman Waterhouse will also be offering training workshops and seminars on both the 19th and 24th of May at our offices. For regional councils, workshop dates will be advised shortly. Further information for all seminars will be released soon.

In the meantime, it remains ‘business as usual’ under the Development Act 1993.

For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article or access to the relevant GRO Plans, please contact Gavin Leydon, on +61 8 210 1225, gleydon@normans.com.au, Peter Psaltis on +61 8 210 1297, ppsaltis@normans.com.au, Jacqueline Plant on +61 8 8210 1230, jplant@normans.com.au or Joanna Clare on +61 8 217 1368, jclare@normans.com.au.