Environment and Food Production Areas

Environment and Food Production Areas (EFPAs) were introduced to protect vital agricultural lands surrounding metropolitan Adelaide from urban encroachment.

The EFPAs operate in a similar way to the Character Preservation Areas in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.

Map of the EFPAs

About this instrument

The Environment and Food Production Areas have been introduced to:

  • protect our valuable food producing and rural areas as well as conserving our prized natural landscapes, and tourism and environmental resources
  • support our sustainable growth and encourage the building of new homes in our existing urban footprint where supporting infrastructure already exists
  • provide more certainty to food and wine producers as well as developers on the direction of future development in metropolitan Adelaide.

The new protection areas cover the rural areas of the Adelaide Plains, Alexandrina, Light and Murray Bridge Councils. They do not overlap with the already protected rural areas within the Barossa Character Preservation Act 2012.

South Australia’s food producing and agricultural areas are one of our primary and premium industries which we are all immensely proud of and which we want to preserve and protect.

Protecting these areas, in turn, protects our food security, economic growth, local jobs, prized tourism areas and our state’s global reputation as a premium producer of food and wine.

To help preserve and support rural areas which are vital to South Australia’s success, new protections only affect development proposals for land division for new housing and do not affect development proposals for new buildings, structures or land division for other purposes.

The establishment of these new protected areas will have no effect on regular home and land owners in these areas, unless they intend to apply to divide land for new housing.

Those who intend to divide land for new housing on land zoned as rural living within an Environment and Food Production Area, have been given a two year period in which they may receive approval for land division for the purposes of housing.

Any application made during this period must adhere to the current land division rules that were in place from December 2015 within the local Development Plan which require land to be large enough to support subdivision. After the two year period – from 1 April 2019 – land division creating additional allotments to be used for residential development will not be permitted within the these important protected areas.

During April 2017, property owners of rural living zoned land within these protected areas, were directly informed of the changes and what it means for them.

At the time the EFPAs were introduced, landowners within certain rural living areas (defined by General Registry Office Map G17/2015) were advised that while subdivision for residential purposes is prevented within EFPAs, a transitional period would allow for the assessment of land division applications proposing the creation of one or more additional allotments.

This transitional period ended on 31 March 2019. Since 1 April 2019, land division applications to create one or more additional allotments within EFPAs are no longer permitted.

The EFPAs do not affect the development of new buildings or structures, only subdivision. Applications for these proposals can continue to be lodged with council.

The Department has had enquiries in relation to the operation of Section 7 of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act (the PDI Act) relating to land division within the EFPA. The following summarises the operation of the rules, procedures and timeframes in relation to land divisions which create new allotments within the EFPA.

Section 7 of the PDI Act essentially does 3 things in relation to land division that creates 1 or more additional allotments in the EFPA:

  1. mandates refusal of any land division that creates additional allotments to be used for residential purposes
  2. requires the Commission’s concurrence for any other land divisions that create 1 or more additional allotments that will not create additional allotments for residential purposes, or Council concurrence if the relevant authority is the Commission or the Minister
  3. provides that any land division approved will be subject to the condition that the additional allotments will not be used for residential purposes (the Practice Direction).

Schedule 7 and Schedule 8, Clause 8 of the PDI Act essentially then deals with 2 different issues arising out of these land division restrictions in the in the EFPA.

  • Schedule 7 deals with Rural Living areas in the EFPA and provides a 2 year grace period until 1 April 2019 to allow lodgement and approval of new land division applications after 1 April 2017 that will create additional allotments to be used for residential purposes only within those Rural living areas. This is provided that minimum allotment size applied in the assessment of those applications were in force on 1 December 2015.

    All Schedule 7 does is remove the mandated refusal of such applications and the condition that they not be used for residential purposes. It does not remove the concurrence process set out in section 7 and does not require that they be approved – namely they still must have sufficient merit when assessed against the relevant Development Plan. Applications that fall under the Schedule 7 can be lodged up to 1 April 2019 and can continue to be processed and finalised after that date. The operation of Schedule 7 expires on 1 April 2019 after which Section 7 applies in full even in Rural Living areas.
  • Schedule 8, Clause 8 deals with “Preserving Existing Authorisations and Rights” for land divisions for any purpose anywhere in the EFPA granted development approval before 1 April 2017. This Clause allows approvals to continue to be progressed up to the lodgement of the land division with the Register-General up until 1 April 2019 after which those approvals lapse if they are not finalised.

    Lodgement with the LTO must occur by 1 April 2019 after which section 7 of the PDI Act applies in full. This allows 2 years grace to complete any works etc associated with an approved land division for which not only are the development approvals required but also the “section 51 certificate” that certifies all the works and land division requirements have been satisfied. As you know, you cannot lodge with the LTO without a section 51 certificate.

Key questions from affected councils

  1. If Schedule 7 expires on 1 April 2019 from which time Section 7 is applied in full including in rural living areas, can a Council approve a land division for residential purposes in a Rural Living Area, subject to the concurrence of the Commission, if it was lodged prior to 1 April 2019 (even though Schedule 7 will no longer be in effect)?

    Yes. Subject to the Commission’s concurrence a Council can approve an application for land division that creates 1 or more additional allotments to be used for residential purposes in Rural Living Areas after 1 April 2019, provided the application is lodged before 1 April 2019. Schedule 7 Clause 1(1)(a) disapplies Section 7(5)(d) (which provides they must be refused) and as such a Council cannot approve such applications if lodged after 1 April 2019.
  2. Are land divisions that are approved in a rural living area after 1 April 2019 subject to the ‘no residential development’ condition outlined in the practice direction released by the Commission?

    No. Applications in the Rural Living Areas that are approved after 1 April 2019 in the circumstances discussed above would not be subject to the condition. Clause 1(1)(a) of Schedule 7 disapplies Section 7(5)(e) of the PDI Act, which is the subsection that requires the condition.
  3. Will approvals issued for land divisions lapse in a similar fashion to that described in Schedule 8, Clause 8 or by a prescribed date, or will they retain the three years to complete the development provided by the Development Act 1993?

    Schedule 8 Clause 8 only applies to applications in the EFPA that were approved before 1 April 2017. It does not apply to applications In Rural Living Areas lodged after 1 April 2017 and approved under Schedule 7 – as Schedule 7 only applies to applications in RLAs that are lodged after 1 April 2017. This means that the normal 3 year time frame to finalise applications lodged and approved under Schedule 7 applies.


A record of public consultation relating to this planning tool is listed below.

Consultation closed 28 February 2018

The Character Preservation (Barossa Valley) Act 2012 and the Character Preservation (McLaren Vale) Act 2012 were reviewed in 2018 as required by legislation.

This legislation provides that the special character of the two districts is recognised, protected and enhanced while providing for the economic, physical and social wellbeing of the communities within the districts. It restricts the creation of additional residential development in the rural areas of the districts to halt urban sprawl to the north and south of Adelaide’s built-up area, thereby seeking to provide for continued viable farming and primary production activities.

The scope of the review involved an assessment of:

  • the family, social, economic and environmental impacts of the Act
  • the impact of the Act on the Councils within the district
  • any changes to the district as a result of the Act
  • any actions that have may have been undertaken to address any negative impacts of the Act.



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