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Big Changes for South Australia Planning and Development System

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Big Changes for South Australia Planning and Development System
Published 19 March 2021
PlanSA has introduced a new planning and development system from 19 March, which will impact everyone in SA who is looking to build or develop land now and into the future. Our City of Playford Manager of Planning Services shares his thoughts on the new system and regulations.

PlanSA has introduced a new planning and development system from 19 March, which will impact everyone in SA who is looking to build or develop land now and into the future.

This is a great opportunity to introduce you to Matt Dineen, the City of Playford Manager of Planning Services, and get his thoughts on the new system and regulations – and to let you know what’s in it for you.

Introducing Matt Dineen

Matt got his career start in Urban Planning and says, “Urban Planning plays an important role in so many facets of everyone’s life, influencing the way people live, work and play. I wanted to help everyone get the most out of their experiences within their natural and built environment and a career in planning seemed the perfect way to do it.”

Changes to the Development and Planning System

We asked Matt to step us through the new features of the SA Planning and Development System, which include some of the biggest changes to the planning system in 20 years. “The changes to our planning system affect both how you apply for development approvals, and some of the rules that applications will be measured against,” Matt says.

Although Playford have been a step ahead with an online development application system, the new PlanSA portal will bring all SA development applications online in a single portal. This is expected to speed up the application process, and applicants will be able to track the progress of their application at any time by signing in to check on it.

Matt offers a tip for all applicants, “Get all of your documents together up front. The new system requires you to lodge all of your documentation when you first apply. Any delays with documentation will result in a delay for you being able to build as planned.”

There is a handy ‘Approval Wizard’ at PlanSA which allows you to quickly see if your planned development requires approval. If it does, you can find out more about the land you own and exactly what rules apply at the Online Planning and Design Code. “Just put in the address of the land and it will tell you what zone it’s in, and what sorts of structures can be built on your property,” Matt says.

There are also new requirements for public notification and consultation. “Public notification signage must be displayed on the site of the proposed development which invites submissions from the public,” Matt says. This means that not only will the owners of neighbouring properties receive notification and opportunity to consult on proposed development in their area, but pedestrians and motorists who travel through the area, and therefore have a stake in what happens, also get a say.

While this is a much more inclusive approach to consultation it’s also important to note that once a decision is made about the development application, it’s final, and no further challenges to the application will be permitted.

Planning and Design Code has standardised policy across the State, which means all applications are judged against the same rule book. Matt notes, “this provides for more consistency across the State so you don’t have different requirements for different Councils."


The new Code means SA will start to build more consistent design elements, and bring about statewide improvement in things like tree canopy, and water re-use measures
Matt Dineen

Fundamentally the new planning Code aligns all council areas into one system as opposed to different councils operating under their own accord. "The new Code means SA will start to build more consistent design elements, and bring about statewide improvement in things like tree canopy, and water re-use measures,” Matt says.

“Council staff have worked with PlanSA to try and maintain the overall intent of previous zones. You may notice some small changes related to your property zoning name, or the conditions that relate to future development, for example, if you’re currently in a 'Primary Production Zone', there will be a name change to 'Rural Horticulture Zone',” Matt says.

Matt and his team are here to help guide you through the new process, and will continue to support you with your development applications. To find out more, visit the PlanSA website.