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Planning Legislation

A blueprint for South Australia's new planning system.

The new Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act 2016) was passed by Parliament in April 2016.

The new legislation came into operation on 1 April 2017 to help modernise South Australia’s planning system.

The new Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act 2016) came into operation on 1 April 2017 to modernise South Australia’s planning system, following important recommendations made by the Expert Panel on Planning Reform in 2014.

The Statutes Amendment (Planning, Development and Infrastructure) Act 2017 came into operation on 1 July 2017 to support the transition as each stage of our new, modern planning system goes live.

On 1 April 2017, the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General Regulations) 2017 and Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Transitional Regulations 2017) were made to provide more detail on new legislative changes.


In 2013, an Expert Panel was appointed by the Government for South Australia to provide recommendations to Parliament for a new planning system for our state:

  • After extensive public consultation, the Expert Panel released the reports What We Have Heard and Our Ideas for Reform.
  • In December 2014, the Panel’s final report The Planning System We Want was delivered to the Minister for Planning.
  • In March 2015, the South Australian government released its response to the Expert Panel reports.


The planning system is complex and can often require experienced professionals to make procedural judgement calls. To support them, the new Planning Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act 2016) (section 42) includes the ability for the State Planning Commission to issue practice directions and guidelines.

A practice direction may specify procedural requirements relating to any matter under the legislation. Practice directions will likely address a range of matters currently covered by the Development Regulations 2008.

Throughout the new Act there are many specific instances where the State Planning Commission is allowed to issue a practice direction. They are issued by the Commission by a notice in the Government Gazette and must be published on the SA Planning Portal. The Commission also has the power to revoke or vary a practice direction through the same process of notification and publication.

In accordance with the provisions of the Act, the following elements may require the establishment of a practice direction:

  • preparation of a regional plan
  • assessment pathways; and
  • the establishment and appointment of assessment panels.

Practice Directions issued by the State Planning Commission

Practice Directions issued by the State Planning Commission so far include:

  • Practice Direction #1 - Environment and Food Production Areas - Greater Adelaide – issued 21 November 2017
  • Practice Direction #2 - Consultation on the Preparation or Amendment of a Designated Instrument – issued date 9  August 2018.


The Expert Panel on Planning Reform identified deficiencies in heritage practice and recommended legislative reform on the heritage listing process that has not been updated in over 20 years.

To enable further discussion and investigation into the heritage listing process, the new Act for planning carried over the existing heritage listing process from the Development Act 1993.

Building on the consultation and investigations already undertaken by the expert panel a discussion paper on ideas for Local Heritage Reform was released in 2016 to encourage high-level ideas and feedback from experts and practitioners involved in local heritage practice and to inform the preparation of a future Local Heritage Bill.

The State Government was pleased to receive significant interest in the heritage reform program, with lots of ideas about how the system can be improved. The 190 submissions on the discussion paper captured a range of views. There are opportunities to enhance the system to better integrate community engagement, de-politicise the listing process and to provide more robust criteria for heritage listing.

The consultation process emphasised the importance of heritage to Councils and the broader community in establishing a sense of place within their local areas. To that end, a large number of submissions expressed support for reform in principle, but sought more detailed information on the overall impact of the reform program on heritage values and certainty about how valued suburbs will be protected.

The State Government is still understanding issues that have arisen from public consultation on the Local Heritage Discussion Paper. In view of the limited parliamentary time available, the Government will not be proceeding with any changes at this time.


Following the conclusion of public consultation submissions are currently being reviewed. A copy of all submissions received can be found here:

Please note some submissions have not been published at the request of the submitter.


December 2014
The Expert Panel for Planning Reform delivered its final report to the Minister for Planning

March 2015
The South Australian government released its response to the Expert Panel reports

April 2016
The new PDI Act 2016 was passed by Parliament

April 2017
The new PDI Act 2016 came into operation

July 2017
The Statues Amendment Act 2017 came into operation to support implementation of the PDI Act 2016

August 2017
Further aspects of the new PDI Act 2016 came into operation

November 2017
Practice Direction #1 issued by the State Planning Commission

August 2018
Practice Direction #2 issued by the State Planning Commission


The Expert Panel on Planning Reform


Practice Directions

Local Heritage Reform



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Page last modified Tuesday, 17 July 2018