PROPOSED changes to South Australia's planning legislation will make the system more responsive to community concerns, easier to understand and will introduce greater integrity initiatives to better safeguard the system, according to the State Government.
Planning Minister John Rau said a feature of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill 2015 was the establishment of a new State Planning Commission, which will aim to streamline the system and assess significant development.
"Under the new legislation we will have more certainty and consistency through the establishment of a peak advisory and assessment body, the State Planning Commission," the Minister said.
Mr Rau said the new legislation also takes elected councillors and the Planning Minister out of high-risk activities by introducing greater transparency and independence in assessment.
"Decisions about land releases and new developments on the outer fringe of the current city can cost future taxpayers tens of millions of dollars," he said.
"The legislation provides for environment and food protection areas. Any rezone for residential purposes within that zone will need to be approved by the Parliament. These decisions are bigger than the Minister of the day alone should determine.
"Local council elected representatives will also no longer be involved in merit based approvals for developments in their areas."
Mr Rau also emphasised the importance of high quality design, saying that infill development needs to fit into the existing character of an area, and needs to be of a high design quality. The Minister said the
The Bill will enable the establishment of design standards for the public realm and infrastructure – a leading reform on the national stage.
"The State's current extensive zoning requirements will be replaced with a consolidated new set of planning rules with quality design at their centre," the Minister said.
SA Executive Director of the Property Council, Daniel Gannon, said South Australia needs to create a more proactive and engaging system, rather than the "quite adversarial and lethargic local Government based approach we've seen in this state."
"And that's why this sector welcomes moves to remove local government councillors from Development Assessment Panels and a depoliticisation of the planning process," Mr Gannon said.
"We would also like to see the introduction of this Bill strengthened by a firm funding commitment to rolling out a user friendly e-planning system in this state. Without this, the reform will have one hand tied behind its back.
"As for 'growing up and not out,' the Property Council has long been an advocate for supporting infill development. However, we remain opposed to the State Government's proposed urban growth boundary.
"A statutory urban growth boundary could constrain supply and limit choice. Families who value extra space, or work outside of metropolitan areas, should have the ability to choose a house and lifestyle that suits their needs."
Also last week, Mr Rau released a planning framework document, 'Renewing our Urban Future – Unlocking South Australia's Potential'.
"This document sets out the Government's vision for delivering better cities, towns and regions and provides context for a number of important planning initiatives that are being rolled out over coming months," he said.
"It makes the case for focusing more on mixed-use urban infill and better connection between people and places, attracting new investment."
More information about the proposed planning legislation is available from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure website at <http://dpti.sa.gov.au/planning/planning_reform>.