Joint planning arrangements

The new planning system provides the opportunity for groups of councils to perform certain functions through joint planning arrangements.

Councils can establish a Joint Planning Board by way of a Planning Agreement entered into with the Minister for Planning.

About the arrangements

A JPB is a body corporate with its own powers and responsibilities and is constituted in accordance with the terms of the Planning Agreement, which sets out the functions, Board membership and how a JPB is to operate. A JPB has between three to seven members and can form committees (advisory) and subsidiaries (operational) to carry out its functions, and must adhere to a Code of Conduct.

The only mandated function of a JPB is preparation of a Regional Plan for the area of the Board, although other functions can be undertaken, such as appointing a regional development assessment panel and undertaking the process to make regionally relevant amendments to the Planning and Design Code.

The Minister has adopted a Code of Conduct (PDF, 383 KB) to be observed by members of a Joint Planning Board. The Code of Conduct sets out standards of conduct and professionalism that are to be observed by all members of a JPB.

Regulation 10 of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017 prescribes the process to be followed if a person believes that a member of a JPB has acted in contravention of the Code of Conduct.

In 2017 the Department initiated a pilot project to explore how Planning Agreements and JPBs will work, and to prepare guidelines to assist councils that are seeking to form a JPB. Councils were invited to participate in the pilot and 40 councils in eight groups initially participated. This reduced to 29 councils in six groups at the start of 2018 when the project moved into stage two - preparation of a business case.

The six groups are Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Limestone Coast, Riverland, Barossa and neighbours and the Spencer Gulf cities (the Murraylands and Eastern Region Alliance have maintained watching briefs). The LGA and Office of Local Government have also been involved.

The pilot has concluded and the following guidelines and templates to assist councils to initiate and establish a Planning Agreement and JPB are now available. The Department has also prepared the guidelines and a template to assist JPBs to prepare a Regional Plan.

New Variations have been released to support arrangements that are being put in place by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Local Government Association Mutual Liability Scheme (MLS) to provide indemnity for members of council assessment panels, joint planning board assessment panels and regional assessment panels, as well as assessment managers appointed to assist such panels.

In addition, since the introduction of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Accredited Professionals) Regulations 2019, the LGA and the MLS have advised further regulatory refinements to clearly outline the allocation of liability of assessment panels.

The LGA and the MLS were consulted on the proposed 2020 Variation Regulations being made. Variation Regulations are:

  • The Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) (Mutual Liability Scheme) Variation Regulations 2020, will now vary the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017, under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.
  • The Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Accredited Professional) (Mutual Liability Scheme) Variation Regulations 2020, will ensure that the coverage provided by an indemnity scheme will satisfy the requirement for accredited professionals (the majority of members of panels will be accredited professionals) to be insured for their duties as an assessment panel member.

These new Variation Regulations are now publicly available and will address issues of liability of assessment panel members when discharging their functions as panel members and is an important step towards the establishment of panels in time for the commencement of Phase Two (Rural Areas) of the Planning and Design Code.


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