State planning policies

The State Planning Policies set out a framework for land use that aims to improve the liveability, sustainability and prosperity of the state.

They provide the state-wide vision for South Australia’s planning and design system.

Access the State Planning Policies

About this instrument

State Planning Policies represent the highest level of policy in our new planning system, and address the economic, environmental and social planning priorities for South Australia.

As a statutory instrument under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016, the draft State Planning Policies outline the planning and design ambitions for South Australia and will guide both regional and metropolitan planning and development in the future.

Importantly, the policies consider changes to how and where South Australians live and work, as well as other important issues such as housing supply and diversity; climate change; and strategic transport infrastructure.

The State Planning Policies aim to provide greater direction, clarity and efficiency in our planning system and will help us respond to modern opportunities and challenges.

State Planning Policies define South Australia’s planning priorities, goals and interests as a framework for other state wide planning tools such as:

  • Regional Planning
  • Planning and Design Code

Simply, State Planning Policies are the overarching umbrella policies that pinpoint current and future planning issues and then set the directions for the planning system to respond. An example is the protection of the community from a range of hazards, such as bushfire, flooding or coastal erosion.

The new legislation sets out requirements for the preparation of the following State Planning Policies for the sustainable development of South Australia:

  • Design Quality - to encourage high quality design
  • Integrated Planning - to encourage integrated land use, transport and infrastructure planning
  • Adaptive Re-Use - to encourage and support the adaptive reuse of buildings and places
  • Climate Change - to minimise adverse effects of planning and development decisions on the climate and promote development that is resilient to climate change
  • Biodiversity - to enhance biodiversity and minimise the adverse effects of development on biodiversity within the state
  • Preservation of Special Areas - Special Legislative Schemes relate to any declared special legislative scheme, a character preservation law and the following Acts:
    • The River Murray Act 2003
    • The Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary Act 2005
    • The Marine Parks Act 2007
    • The Arkaroola Protection Act 2012

State Planning Policies are prepared and amended by the State Planning Commission at the request of the Minister for Planning and Local Government.

The first set of State Planning Policies are currently being prepared. A number of state agencies, through a State Planning Policy Reference Group, are assisting preparing the State Planning Policies relevant to their areas of interest.

It is envisaged that the first set of State Planning Policies will be consistent with the directions of the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide and other existing state government policies.

The Commission will conduct engagement on the State Planning Policies in accordance with the Community Engagement Charter. Formal consultation on the draft State Planning Policies with stakeholders and the public will occur in 2018.

At the end of the process, the Commission will provide a report to the Minister for Planning and Local Government including information about the engagement process and feedback received.

If the Minister decides to approve the State Planning Policies with or without amendment they will come into effect by notice in the Government Gazette and by providing the State Planning Policies on the PlanSA portal. The Commission’s report will also be provided on the PlanSA portal.

Parliamentary scrutiny of the State Planning Policies will also take place with a referral to the Environment Resource Development Committee of Parliament.

The role of State Planning Policies in development assessment varies depending on the assessment pathway.

  • Code Assessed Development – these applications are assessed against the Planning and Design Code policy, informed by the State Planning Policies.
  • Environment Impact Statement – State Planning Policies have a role in the preparation of Environmental Impact Statement. This must include a statement of the extent to which the impacts of development would be consistent with relevant State Planning Policies, and must provide any commitments regarding avoidance, mitigation or management consistent with the provisions of any special legislative scheme.

State Planning Policies will also influence an agency’s referral role by setting out state interests up front.

In providing advice to the Minister for Planning and Local Government regarding the establishment of any Infrastructure Scheme, the State Planning Commission must take into consideration any relevant State Planning Policy.

The Minister, may, on the advice of the Commission, set performance targets on any goal, policy or objective within a State Planning Policy.

These enable the monitoring of progress towards achieving the goals and the extent to which the goal is achieved.

Targets may be monitored, reviewed, withdrawn and may be periodically published.


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