Sketching and planning image

South Australia’s New Planning System

A new planning system launched across South Australia in mid-March – the biggest reform to the planning system in 20 years. The system is designed to make the process of getting Council Approval clearer and more consistent across South Australia, with goals to achieve better design outcomes.

The Code reflects and focusses on significant areas of reform including lifting the bar on the quality of infill development; protecting our character and heritage; protecting native vegetation; promoting ‘value adding’ in rural areas.

But what does that mean for you? Here’s a few points we think effect our clients:

  • State based planning system means consistency across Council areas so discrepancies in interpretation will be minimised.
  • Electronic lodgement means it is easier to access up to date information about the progress of your application. To lodge an application, you will need to complete an account registration, or have a consultant (Architect, Building Designer, Town Planner, Building Certifier, etc) lodge it for you. Many Councils are no longer accepting payments or over the counter lodgements, so this is a process we will all have to get used to.
  • Simple applications that comply with the Planning and Development Code will be processed much more quickly.
  • You can choose to have your application assessed by an independent professional rather than Council.
  • Many previously zoned primary production areas are now zoned rural – where wineries, breweries, small scale tourist accommodation, etc. are complying development.
  • There are regions specifically identified as ‘tourism development’ including a specific ‘winery experience’ zone, although we are yet to spot more than one of these zones on a map!
  • There are less restrictions on size of developments, especially where the development is expanding an existing approved land use.
  • Restrictions on heritage listings, protected vegetation and character areas remain.

You can read more about the new planning code at PlanSA or give us a call and let’s just have a coffee and a chat.


For most tourism businesses, working on your buildings and grounds is a big deal. There is a lot of money and time at stake and can be difficult to know where to start. So let’s just start with a coffee.