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LG Alert – The march of the PDI Act continues… (March 29th, 2017)

Continuing with our promise to keep you fully informed on the implementation of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (“PDI Act”), we confirm that yesterday’s Government Gazette included a number of proclamations heralding the commencement of the PDI Act as well as a number of transitional provisions which affect the present Development Act 1993 and which are contained within the Statutes Amendment (Planning, Development and Infrastructure) Act 2017.

The following key portions of the PDI Act and related changes to the Development Act will commence on 1 April 2017:

  • The whole of Part 1 with the exception of section 4 will commence.  This will allow for the definitions section to operate, the creation of the new planning regions and the Greater Adelaide region which will inform the new State Planning Policies and Regional Plans and the creation of new Environment and Food Production Areas.
  • The whole of Part 2 which provides for the objects of the PDI Act, how those objects are to be promoted, principles of good planning and general duties imposed on decision-makers under the Act will commence.
  • The whole of Part 3 of the PDI Act will commence.  This Part provides for:
      • the establishment of the State Planning Commission. Further, the Development Act will be partially repealed so that the new State Planning Commission will replace the current Development Assessment Commission, Development Policy Advisory Committee and Building Rules Assessment Commission;
      • the establishment of Joint Planning Boards. This coincides with the recent announcement from DPTI of grant funding being offered to councils to establish Joint Planning Boards, with DPTI prepared to contribute half of the costs of doing so up to a maximum of $50,000.
  • Those sections in Part 4 which provide for the creation of the Community Engagement Charter, the SA Planning Website and related provisions will commence.  The commencement of the new online planning database, online atlas and search facilities and online specifications and standards will commence at an as-yet unspecified date in the future.
  • Part 13 which provides for the new Infrastructure Delivery Schemes will commence so as to allow essential infrastructure schemes (i.e. those which apply to new or future land divisions) to be established.  This will allow any council and/or developers who have chosen to take up an offer from DPTI to establish a pilot scheme to move forward with this proposal.
  • Portions of Part 20 which concern limitation upon liability for decision-makers under the Act, copyright, and ancillary matters such as Ministerial delegations and advisory committees will commence.
  • Schedules 1 – 5, 7 and 8 of the Act will commence.  These Schedules concern disclosure of financial interests, subsidiaries of Joint Planning Boards, codes and professional standards and other procedural matters.

In summary, the portions of the PDI Act which will commence on 1 April 2017 are intended to allow the “back bone” of the new planning system to form.  The new State Planning Commission will be formally established and will be able to commence its work on developing the new Community Engagement Charter, State Planning Policies and the Planning and Design Code.  Joint Planning Boards and Essential Infrastructure Schemes will be able to be tested and established, whilst the SA Planning Portal can evolve.

Development Plans, development assessment and enforcement will continue to be governed by the Development Act.  Those portions of the PDI Act concerning the new Planning and Design Code, development assessment and enforcement have not yet been proclaimed.

Two sets of Regulations have also been proclaimed to commence on 1 April 2017, the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017 and the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2017.

These Regulations are intended to complement the portions of the Act which will commence on 1 April 2017 by:

  • confirming that public notices under the PDI Act can be published through the SA Planning Portal or newspapers;
  • refining the requirements for the annual reports of the State Planning Commission and Joint Planning Boards;
  • providing for complaints processes for members of the State Planning Commission and other ancillary matters;
  • ensuring that the new Environment and Food Production Areas can be created and given effect under the Development Act. 

So far, the only other known commencement date for further portions of the PDI Act is 1 July 2020.  This date remains the date by which the Planning and Design Code is to commence operation.  Development Plans will continue to exist and be used for planning assessments until this date.

No other express dates have been set for the implementation of the PDI Act.  All other parts of the Act can be proclaimed at the behest of the Government.

It must also be noted that the PDI Act itself has already been amended through the Statutes Amendment (Planning, Development and Infrastructure) Act 2017.

Sections 58, 59, 60 and 63 of the PDI Act which concern state planning policies, the design quality policy, the integrated planning policy and special legislative schemes – being a mechanism to create new state planning policies to reflect legislation which complements the PDI Act such as the Character Preservation Acts which affect the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale regions, are all amended.

The effect of the amendments is that the State Planning Commission no longer has an expressly autonomous role in the preparation of these policies.  Rather, the State Planning Commission will merely act on the Minister’s behalf in relation to state planning policies under section 58 and will have no role in the preparation of the other policies in sections 59, 60 and 63;

We will continue to monitor the implementation of the new PDI Act and will keep you abreast of any further developments.

For any questions, please contact Victoria Shute on 8113 7104 or or Tracy Riddle on 8113 7106 or