Planning Reforms: Planning & Design Code.

If you haven’t already heard, Development Plans are soon to be a thing of the past, to make way for state-wide consistency.

The State Planning Commission will be implementing a Planning and Design Code which will replace all Development Plans by mid-2020*, to become the single source of planning policy for assessing development applications across South Australia, delivering consistent, state-wide planning rules.

* UPDATE:  it was announced on 7 February that the implementation would be delayed a further three months due to “industry and community backlash”, which included concerns that it was being pushed through too fast.

The intention is to make the planning process quicker, simpler and more equitable. It will help property owners navigate the planning system when building a house, developing a business or large residential/commercial developments.

Intended outcomes of the reforms

  • A shared planning vision: A collaborative, long-term strategic planning direction for South Australia
  • Involving the community in planning: More opportunities for South Australians to shape their community
  • Consistent, state-wide planning rules: Consolidating South Australia’s 72 complex development plans into one set of easy-to-understand planning rules for the state
  • Using technology to unlock planning: An online ePlanning system that is easy to use and understand and offers one centralised place for all of South Australia’s planning and development matters. It is hoped that this electronic system will simplify processes and speed up the movement of information
  • Better quality of design: New planning rules with a focus on good design outcomes, to raise the benchmark of South Australia’s built environment and character
  • Clear approach to development assessment: A consistent and simplified development assessment process
  • Helping out planning decision-makers: Professionals making the right decisions for the right places
  • Delivering critical infrastructure: Coordinated and equitable provision of infrastructure
  • Measuring the performance of our system: New ways to monitor, improve and share planning activity
  • Supporting food production areas: Protecting our environment and important agricultural assets

The code will be supported by the new online SA Planning Portal so that planning information is easily accessible, including electronic lodgement of applications.

The implementation: a phased approach

By 1 July 2020, the full Planning and Design Code will be in effect across the entire state and made available to all South Australians via the SA Planning Portal.

The implementation is being phased in over three stages:

  • Phase One – July 2019: Code introduced to the outback (land not within a council area)
  • Phase Two – April 2020: Code to be introduced to rural councils with small towns and settlements
  • Phase Three – July 2020: Code to be introduced to urban councils and councils with regional towns and cities

How to have your say

Phase Three of the draft Planning and Design Code (Urban) is open for public consultation until 28 February 2020.
If you wish to submit your feedback, you can do so by completing the online form available on the SA Planning Portal website or emailing your submission to

Find out more

Further information on the Planning and Design Code, including the draft of the Urban code can be find on the Planning Reforms section of the SA Planning Portal website.


References: this blog post has been written based on information found on the SA Planning Portal website.