New laws that reform South Australia’s planning system and unlock investment potential that will create jobs have passed Parliament today.

This will mean two key issues have also passed, as amended in the Legislative Council.

An Environmental and Food Protection Area will now be created and up to one elected members from local councils will be on Development Assessment Panels.

Whilst the Government was steadfast in its belief that assessment panels should not be dominated by the vagaries of local politics, it has decided on balance to accept the amendment made in the Legislative Council for now to allow the benefits of these significant reforms to be realised sooner.

Two new Infrastructure Schemes will also form part of the legislation, together with an entirely new planning system oriented to deliver certainty and clearer and faster planning assessment pathways.

Another significant reform to the planning system that this Bill will now deliver is a new planning system, oriented to provide any developer with an early ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to their proposed development, and not an infinite and costly ‘maybe’. Delays will be shortened, red tape reduced and investment encouraged.

Background

The Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill 2015 was introduced on 15 September, 2015. The Bill passed the House of Assembly on 17 November, 2015. The Legislative Council passed the Bill on 26 March, 2016.

The aim was to make the planning process much easier for all South Australians by removing unnecessary red tape, streamlining decision making and simplifying regulations the Government believed would unlock employment opportunities.

Quotes attributable to Planning Minister John Rau

We can now realise the State’s development potential, manage our future growth and put people at the centre of planning decisions.

This new legislation will be an economic enabler and create new jobs for South Australians.

The EFPA is a crucial part of this new legislation which will protect our environment and protect our food bowl.

Parliament, not the Minister, will need to approve any decision about urban expansion that impacts on our important food production and environmental areas. Decisions about urban expansion will, from now on, be publicly scrutinised.

I remain concerned about some amendments of the Bill passed in the Legislative Council but, that is not a sufficient reason to delay progress.

After discussions with many interested parties and in particular Mayor David O’Loughlin, Past President of the LGA, I have been persuaded to soften my position. I do recognise that Local Government will be an integral part of the work of implementing the new Planning system. I ask for their partnership, along with the UDIA and the Property Council, in this task.

I now look forward to working with various interested parties in the crucial implementation phase of these reforms.