South Australia

Final report of SA's Expert Panel calls for major overhaul of planning system

THE South Australian Government last week welcomed the release of the final report from the Expert Panel on Planning Reform, which outlines 22 reforms that aim to support the development of an effective, efficient and enabling planning system.

Planning Minister John Rau thanked the Panel, headed by Brian Hayes, for their work and said he will carefully consider the report before seeking cabinet approval for taking legislative changes to the Parliament in the first quarter of the New Year.

"The Panel was tasked with providing advice to Government about what changes should be made to make our planning system work more effectively," Mr Rau said.

"There is definitely room for improvement in our current system. I want it to be more responsive, involve less red tape and be easier for people to understand.

Cover of 'The Planning System We Want'
Image: Cover of 'The Planning System We Want' / South Australia's Expert Panel on Planning Reform.

"This report has been a significant project that has taken close to two years. The Panel has undertaken significant consultation, including initial submissions and further feedback on a draft report. Since 2013 over 2,500 people participated in the Panel's review.

"Consultation with communities around the state has revealed a number of significant issues and shortcomings in the way the present planning system delivers planning policy.

"It has also highlighted strong concerns about the degree of public consultation and engagement about how local planning policy is being made."

Mr Rau said communities needed to be more involved in the early stages of planning how their suburbs should look and develop in the future.

"This does not mean that everyone in the community will necessarily be happy with every outcome, but it does mean that more people will have their views listened to and considered.

"The Expert Panel report makes a number of recommendations, some of these involve complex matters of detail.

"This work on how our planning system should be organised, will be complemented on a concurrent update on the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide. The 30 Year Plan is the state's primary policy document.

"I hope people throughout the state take the opportunity to read and consider the work of the Expert Panel. It is important that people are familiar with the issues and why changes are required."

The 22 reforms outlined in the Panel's report include:


  • Establish a state planning commission
  • Create a network of regional planning boards across the state
  • Legislate to create a charter of citizen participation
  • Engage parliament in the development of planning policies


  • Create in legislation a new framework for state directions
  • Reshape planning documents on a regional basis
  • Establish a single state-wide menu of planning rules
  • Place heritage on renewed foundations
  • Make changing plans easy, quick and transparent


  • Adopt clear, simple development pathways
  • Take the next steps towards for independent professional assessment
  • Clarify the approval pathways for projects of state significance
  • Streamline the assessment of essential infrastructure
  • Make the appeals process more accessible and accountable
  • Provide new and effective enforcement options


  • Reinforce and expand precinct planning
  • Settle and deliver an infrastructure funding framework
  • Integrate open space and the public realm in the planning system


  • Aim for seamless legislative interfaces
  • Establish an online planning system
  • Adopt a rigorous performance monitoring approach
  • Pursue culture change and improved practice

The report, 'The Planning System We Want', is available from South Australia's Expert Panel on Planning Reform website at <>. The report is also available directly from this link (PDF: 5.94 MB).

Image: Cover of 'The Planning System We Want' / South Australia's Expert Panel on Planning Reform.

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