South Australia’s Expert Panel on Planning Reform has released its second report based on a 12 month research and consultation process with various stakeholders across South Australia.

The report, Our Ideas for Reform outlines 27 proposals designed to create a planning system characterised by transparency, consistency, consultation and a strong connection to regional areas. The expert panel was formally advised throughout the process by representatives of 22 stakeholder groups from across the State.

Panel Chair Brian Hayes QC who delivered the report to Minister for Planning, John Rau said that there was a clear and consistent call from across all stakeholders for carrying out reforms to South Australia’s planning system.

Core reforms proposed by the Expert Panel include:

  • Providing ‘arms-length’ decision-making and transparent advice through an independent State planning commission;
  • Placing regional futures in regional hands through the creation of regional planning boards;
  • Creating a citizen engagement charter setting new benchmarks for community participation in the planning process;
  • Embedding design thinking;
  • Ensuring all assessment is undertaken by independent professionals, from local, minor developments to major projects on a state-wide level;
  • Streamlining planning processes, removing duplication and red tape and making planning documents more manageable.

Hayes explains that South Australians want a simpler system that all users can easily access and use, which is not possible now in a system that relies on around 1200 land use zones expressed in more than 20,000 pages of planning rules and maps.

Hayes said the panel had acted on the concerns raised consistently about the role of elected representatives in the planning system by clarifying that elected representatives set the key directions for the future of their communities, while leaving the day-to-day business of implementation and assessment to independent professionals.

Hayes said the proposed reforms would build on the foundation of the existing planning system to meet the needs of people today and for many years to come.

Calling for people to provide feedback on the proposed reforms before the expert panel makes its final recommendations to the State Government at the end of the year, Hayes said the panel is very keen to hear from as many people as possible to make sure they are on the right path, and build on or improve their ideas if required, based on the feedback.

Through August and September, the panel will be working with local councils, community groups, industry and professional organisations to examine how each idea would work in the South Australian context.

Based on this feedback, recommendations for the future of planning in South Australia will be presented to the Minister for Planning by December 2014.

The Ideas for Reform report can be accessed at; an online form is also provided for feedback and suggestions.

Download the full report here: