South Australians have engaged strongly with the first stage of a sweeping review of the State’s planning legislation being led by South Australia’s Expert Panel on Planning Reform.
Chair of the independent panel, Brian Hayes QC, said the panel was pleased with the response from more than 1,200 participants in the 75 workshops across the State - including in Port Augusta, Mount Gambier, Clare, Port Lincoln, Naracoorte, Loxton, Gawler and Goolwa - since April.
Hundreds of locals attended workshops in each regional location and put forward a series of suggested reforms including the introduction of regional bodies to coordinate planning, infrastructure and environmental policy, the introduction of regional development assessment panels and better recognition of the needs of country regions in the planning legislation.
“We were delighted by the positive and considered ideas for change that many people suggested to us over the course of the year. It has been a very positive response to our first round of engagement,” Mr Hayes said.
“There is a genuine appetite for a rethink of our planning legislation in the community and the panel was impressed by the passion, energy and conviction many participants brought to the process.”
The Expert Panel on Planning Reform will release its first report, What We Have Heard, on Monday, December 9 with a formal handover to the Minister for Planning at 9am.
“Many people see our planning system as an important enabler of community growth, investment in our environment and a sustainable economy,” Mr Hayes said.
“While it was obvious that there are many aspects of the current legislative system people would like to see changed, there was also a real willingness to engage in debate about solutions.
“As an independent panel, we haven’t shied away from reporting all of the views and opinions put to us, including criticisms of councils and the State Government.
“Our task now is to take these views, test them with evidence and formulate changes to the legislation that can resolve them.”
Mr Hayes said a wide range of ideas were presented to the panel during its engagement process. Some of these included:
- an independent planning commission to lead planning for land use and infrastructure across the State;
- a statutory charter for community participation in planning and development decisions;
- regional bodies to coordinate planning, infrastructure and environmental policy;
- a greater role for high quality urban design in the system;
- dramatic reform to the State’s 72 development plans, which currently contain 22,000 pages and up to 1,000 zones;
- a variety of changes to development assessment bodies, such as regional development assessment panels;
- new models for funding of infrastructure as part of new development;
- more rigorous environmental impact assessment for major projects;
- streamlined approval processes for new housing to save time and money; and
- better recognition of the needs of country regions in the planning legislation.
“South Australians want a planning system that is driven by the aspirations of the community and is able to underpin our long-term economic prosperity,” Mr Hayes said.
“These arguments were powerful for the panel as they are about the fundamental role planning plays in shaping an economy that is attractive for investment and also attractive for people live, work and aspire to improve their lives and the lives of their children.
“To achieve these goals, we must get beyond the old debates. As a panel we won’t be picking sides, we will be picking the best ideas for our State.”
The panel will engage with the community and business groups over 2014 to develop an Options Report to be released in the middle of 2014, ahead of its final report to the Government and Parliament in December 2014.
Copies of the report can also be accessed from: www.thinkdesigndeliver.sa.gov.au
The panel will be undertaking a series of stakeholder events in the week following release of the report. Details can be found on the panel’s website following the launch.
Expert Panel on Planning Reform
South Australia’s Expert Panel on Planning Reform was launched by South Australia's Planning Minister John Rau in February 2013. The Expert Panel has been given a very wide remit to review the State’s planning system. It will focus on our 20 year old planning legislation, but it will also look carefully at all legislation that intersects with planning, and any other factors that have an impact on the planning system.