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About the Commission

South Australia’s principal planning advisory and development assessment body


The State Planning Commission has been established as the state’s independent, principal planning body that provides advice and makes recommendations on the administration of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

The State Planning Commission guides decision-making of state government, local government and community and business organisations with respect to planning, development and infrastructure provisions in South Australia.

The Commission was established on 1 April 2017 with the commencement of new planning Act.


The Commission comprises six members with widespread expertise in urban design, construction, economics and public policy and an ex officio representative from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI).

Members are appointed by the Governor, on the recommendation of the Minister for Planning. The Commission also includes one ex officio member from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure to assist the Commission in its administration of the new Act.

On 5 October 2018, Mr Michael Lennon was appointed to the position of Chairperson of the Commission following the resignation of former Supreme Court Justice Mr Tim Anderson QC who had held the position since 7 March 2017.

Assisting the Chairperson is Mr Matt Davis, Ms Janet Finlay, Ms Fairlie Delbridge, and Mr Allan Holmes who were appointed as inaugural members of the Commission on 30 May 2017. Ms Sally Smith, the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure General Manager, Planning and Development was appointed as the ex officio member.

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The State Planning Commission will ensure that a high benchmark in both public integrity and contemporary land use planning in Australia is achieved as a result of the new Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

In view of this, one of the first orders of business for the Commission is to establish its strategic governance framework and operating procedures. Indeed, during its first year of operation the Commission will have a focus of the following aspects to enable it to administer its duties and responsibilities under the PDI Act through 2017 and beyond:

  • the expectation for the Commission in its first year of operations
  • establishment of the Commission’s Charter, operating procedures and delegations
  • establishment of the Commission’s assessment sub-committee and sub-committee structure

The Minister has adopted a code of conduct (PDF, 173 KB) to be observed by members of the State Planning Commission. The code of conduct sets out standards of conduct and professionalism that are to be observed by all members of the State Planning Commission.

Regulation 9 of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017 prescribes the process to be followed if a person believes that a member of the Commission has acted in contravention of the code of conduct.

Much of the work undertaken by the Commission will be guided by the ‘principles of good planning’ outlined in the new legislation. Under these principles, the Commission’s work will:

  • have a long-term focus
  • be innovative and able to respond to emerging challenges and opportunities
  • encourage the renewal of existing suburbs to reduce our urban footprint
  • support high quality design which is accessible to people with differing needs and capabilities
  • promote the use of walking and cycling trails
  • support the liveability of suburbs through increased vegetation and more open space
  • facilitate investment in the development industry
  • promote the development of public transport of all types near suburbs, shopping and service areas and workplaces
  • promotes cooperation and integration between and among State Government agencies and local government.

To achieve this, the Commission will help the Minister and DPTI to create a planning system that:

  • is easily understood and consistent
  • enables people to digitally access planning information and undertake processes and transactions
  • promotes certainty for those proposing to undertake development
  • provides scope for innovation
  • promotes safe and efficient construction practices
  • provides financial schemes that support development and that can be used to capitalise on investment opportunities
  • promotes cooperation and integration between and among State Government agencies and local government.

The State Planning Commission will have a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth transition from the current system under the Development Act 1993 to the new system under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

The Commission is responsible for the development, delivery and ongoing management of many key elements of the new system which is why it was necessary to ensure it was able to commence operation as soon as possible after various sections of the PDI Act became live on 1 April 2017.

One of the first orders of business for the Commission was to determine its priorities to support the implementation of the new planning system. 

It is important to note that although the Commission has now commenced, much of the planning system will operate as ‘Business as Usual’ under the Development Act 1993 until further notice. This includes the assessment of all development applications made under the Development Act.

The State Planning Commission Annual Report is presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 and also the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting.

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It is anticipated the workload for the State Planning Commission will be significant in its first two to three years of operation as the elements of the new system are established and the planning instruments become operational.

Included in this are key responsibilities within the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 to lead planning policies and ensure that genuine engagement with our community occurs, as well as to help focus future developments in a coordinated manner with the required and appropriate infrastructure provisions and finally to provide guidance to local councils, practitioners and other users of the system in the delivery of a new planning services. Please visit this site for updates on the development of the Commission’s core strategic initiatives as they are determined.

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The State Planning Commission will ensure that a high benchmark in both public integrity and contemporary land use planning in Australia is achieved as a result of the new Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

A full suite of its policies and procedures; meeting arrangements; code of conduct and operating procedures (including meeting agendas and minutes) will be made available on this page as soon as they are determined

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The Commission’s charter is to act in the best interests of all South Australians, promoting the principles outlined in the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 to encourage state-wide economic growth and support liveability.

The Commission reports directly to the Minister for Planning and is responsible for:

  • delivery of the new planning system and management of its instruments leading the development of planning policies that are informed by genuine engagement with our community
  • ensuring future development is coordinated with the provision of public transport, roads, services and open space
  • guiding councils and professionals in the delivery of new planning services
  • providing advice and recommendations on government planning policy
  • analysing and assessing upcoming development projects
  • coordinating planning with infrastructure and guidance
  • guiding local council and accredited professionals in the delivery of new planning services and community engagement.

The Commission will operate with the support of the Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, which will provide professional and technical expertise, administrative services and corporate resources, to assist in the performance of its functions.

The Commission will have a core role to play in guiding the implementation of the state’s planning system over the next three years. In particular, they will lead the following specific aspects of the new planning system:

  • establishing and maintaining a number of new legislative instruments outlined in the new planning Act including the Community Engagement Charter, Planning and Design Code and Design Standards for the public realm and for infrastructure
  • review of the general infrastructure scheme
  • preparing a Regional Plan for each planning region where no Joint Planning Board exists
  • Development Assessment of prescribed classes of development
  • providing advice about funding programs available for planning or development within the state
  • undertaking and publishing relevant research and providing reports as requested by the Minister or determined by the Commission.

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During May 2018, the State Planning Commission hsoted three workshops with the planning community to discuss important next steps in delivering South Australia’s planning future.

The workshops provided:

  • An overview of planning reform progress to date
  • Specific discussion on the draft State Planning Policies and the four draft discussion papers on Transport, the Environment, Neighbourhoods and the Economy.
  • An opportunity for the planning community to contribute towards the development of these important papers and shape the policies that will make our state more liveable, affordable, sustainable and prosperous.

Videos of the presentations from all workshops, as well as a summary of what was heard (PDF, 7351 KB), are now available.


Workshop 1

Session 1: State Planning Commission Workshop #1 Planning Reform Update and State Planning Policies - Welcome


Session 2: State Planning Commission Workshop #1 Planning Reform Update and State Planning Policies - Planning Reform Update


Session 3: State Planning Commission Workshop #1 Planning Reform Update and State Planning Policies - State Planning Policies


Workshop 2

Introducing Policy Discussion Papers -  Integrated Movement Systems &  Natural Resources & Environment


Workshop 3

State Planning Commission Workshop #3 Productive Economy Discussion Paper


State Planning Commission Workshop #3 People & Neighbourhoods Discussion Paper


Further information

  • Visit Have Your Say on the SA Planning Portal to learn more about upcoming workshops and events.
  • Visit Resources on the SA Planning Portal to view more videos about our planning system.