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Reforms to SA planning should shake up system

Reforms to SA planning should shake up system

The South Australian state government says it is reforming the planning system to unlock investment potential and put people at the centre of planning decisions that will shape the communities in which they live.

Planning Minister John Rau says a new Bill will lay the foundations for a planning system that will realise the state’s development potential and manage future growth.

“This ground-breaking reform will provide a great framework for long-term planning, built on accountability. It will set clear directions that support investment and jobs,” he says.

“Community engagement at the very start of planning decisions will be required by a new charter of community engagement. Community input will be sought at the outset, not as an afterthought.

“By removing red tape, streamlining decision making, simplifying regulations and fostering greater certainty in the planning process, we can deliver better outcomes.”

Rau says a key change in the new legislation is the recognition of an environmental and food protection area and giving only Parliament the power to approve housing development inside of this zone.

“This will help to safeguard our important environmental and food production areas from opportunistic and ill-considered residential encroachment.

“Encroachment on the environment and food protection area has a huge impact on the future of the state and places a massive financial burden on taxpayers into the future.

“Decisions that may cost future taxpayers billions of dollars should not rest in the hands of just one minister. The impact of these decisions is so great, the approval of the Parliament is appropriate.

“The assessment system will be de-politicised by removing elected members from local council DAPs and replacing them with accredited professionals.

“At the same time, elected officials and communities will have more of a say from the start on key policy directions.”

Under the legislation, developers and landholders will contribute to the infrastructure needed as part of any new build.

“An infrastructure scheme will be introduced; where appropriate, this will provide flexibility in the way necessary infrastructure associated with development can be provided. This will make the entry cost to home ownership lower in many cases,” Rau says.

“This will remove a major impediment to investment and provide a fairer distribution of infrastructure costs.

“The current rigid open space contribution scheme is meant to ensure public open space is provided but it simply isn’t working as well as it should. This will be improved.”

Rau says the aim is to revitalise communities and make it easier for all applications large or small to gain an early “yes” or “no” rather than a drawn out “maybe”.

“Through consultation people also made it clear they want to interact with the planning system online and in their own time, and we will move to have all planning information accessible on a central e-planning portal,” he adds.

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