Community engagement charter

The Charter sets out consultation requirements for proposed amendments to designated instruments.

It provides greater opportunities for South Australians to influence how we live, work and move in our urban and rural areas.

Access the Charter

About this instrument

Before now, many people’s first interaction with the planning system was when a new house or other form of development was built near them, without understanding the planning policy that enabled this to occur.

The new Community Engagement Charter will help understanding of the planning system by inviting the community input on planning policies that shape the places they value.

The Community Engagement Charter must be used when initiating an amendment to an operational statutory instrument.

The Commission will review the performance of the Charter and Guide as it tests it in the delivery of the new planning system for South Australia. The Commission can amend the Charter at any time and must review it every five years.

A major inclusion in the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016, is the Community Engagement Charter. The Act places the emphasis on engaging communities early, when the rules, such as the Planning and Design Code and other regulatory instruments are being developed rather than at the later stages of the planning process when it may be too late to influence outcomes.

This ensures that people and communities have a greater opportunity to “have a say” in developing planning policy for our state.

Public focus groups and ongoing consultation shaped the Charter’s five engagement principles.

Those participating told us that they wanted engagement that is:

  • genuine
  • inclusive and respectful
  • fit for purpose
  • informed and transparent
  • reviewed and improved.

Councils and state government must design engagement strategies that meet these principles and tailor engagement to the needs of the community and the characteristics of the project. The Charter makes sure that planners and developers gather input early and more widely from other stakeholders and our communities.

Traditional engagement tools used alongside new technologies will be encouraged.

Measuring, reporting and reviewing the performance of public engagement is also a key requirement of the Charter.

The State Planning Commission is responsible for reviewing and maintaining the Charter and has the authority to determine whether compliance with the Charter principles have been met prior to decisions being made.

State Planning Policies

Provide direction for Regional Plans, Planning & Design Code and EISs.

Regional Plans

Set the long-term vision for an area of the State, and must align with any relevant State Planning Policies.

The Planning and Design Code

Will replace current development plans.

Design Standards

Ensure a consistent approach to the design of local infrastructure (eg stormwater, local road construction and lighting).

Infrastructure Schemes

Set the rules and process for assessing development applications.

Assessment processes in the new planning system must provide certainty, consistency, timeliness and minimal risk of appeal, particularly where development outcomes meet the rules established through early engagement.

The Charter does not have a statutory role in assessment of development applications, and procedures to be followed for public notification and the invitation of feedback on development proposals outlined in the Act are to be determined by regulation. These vary across the different assessment pathways within the new planning system.

The planning process and visioning for areas will influence planning rules and how they may apply at the local level. Linking the planning rules to the vision requires genuine engagement. The community would therefore be informed about the planning rules applying to them and their surroundings and an understanding about what form future developments may take.

The new assessment pathways provide engagement scaled to the possible impacts of development as shown below.

The principles of good community engagement as set out in the Charter will be considered when the regulations for development assessment are determined


Engagement required





Code assessed – Deemed-to-satisfy


Code assessed – Performance assessed

Notification of adjoining land owners and notice on land unless exempt by Code

Impact Assessed – Restricted

Notification of adjoining land owners, others affected, public notice, notice on land (unless Commission dispenses)

Impact Assessed - Impact assessed

Public notice, written submissions, and additional consultation as required by the Minister

The State Planning Commission has developed the Charter by listening to a range of community, industry, councils and state bodies about its important features.

Download the Commission's Engagement Report (PDF, 1102 KB).

There has been three phases of engagement for the Community Engagement Charter with members of the public being a part of the development of the Charter from the very beginning:

Stage 1 - Pre-Engagement

Planning Together Panel, stakeholder Groups and the practitioner panel worked to inform the preparation of the Discussion Draft of the Community Engagement Charter.

Stage 2 - Discussion Draft

The Commission released the Discussion Draft for comment from the Community and Stakeholder Groups including Councils from 28 August 2017 to 6 October 2017. The Consultation Phase 1 Report was then released and made available on the SA Planning Portal.

Stage 3 - Consultation Draft

The Commission released the Draft Community Engagement Charter and the Guide for a formal 6 weeks consultation from 30 October 2017 to 8 December 2017.


If you can't find a document, try searching PlanSA's resources library.