Planning Update – Where is SA at?

2016 has been a big year in the development sector.  There has been:

  1. the review of the 30 Year Plan initially released in 2010;
  2. the passing of an entirely new legislative framework in the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (SA) (which saw the introduction of the new “urban growth boundary” and which all parties continue to wait for to receive more details of the budget and timing on the five (5) year implementation strategy); and
  3. the ongoing push for infill development along transport corridors.

The year has culminated in relevant government departments undertaking reviews of the planning and development legislation which has included the provision of a report on housing affordability in the SA market and whispering of the introduction of apartment design guidelines.

Affordable Housing Review

Any market participant can’t ignore that in the last 10 years the median house price for a detached dwelling in metropolitan Adelaide has increased from $280,000.00 in June 2006 to $450,000.00 in June this year[1].  Therefore, in an industry where market drive dictates not only the profitability of a dwelling, but the scope and design of dwellings within a project, and as “an affordable place to live” is one of the seven strategic proprieties in the South Australian Government’s policy framework, affordability is a matter which cannot be ignored or pushed to one side.

The Renewal SA – People Partnerships Progress, Affordable Housing Review provided findings that the 15% target of affordable dwellings was exceeded with the year providing 5,490 new and committed dwellings across South Australia to provide 17.2% of eligible dwellings.

While the report did provide for areas of improvement, namely that the 15% policy focused on income factors rather than ensuring a diversity in products in all areas, the findings did provide a number of recommendations to assist with and drive diverse affordability into the future.

Apartment Design Guidelines

With the Government looking at the need for increased density in development across the State, and the need for joint focus between Councils and the Government to provide consistency in planning approvals, the introduction of a policy for apartment design guidelines is not unexpected and could provide a valuable tool for participants provided it is framed with SA specific focus.

While consideration has been given to WA and Victoria guidelines, and with various industry bodies working to provide submissions regarding the appropriate framework, it is clear that the system or guidelines adopted need to still provide for the system to require review of the merits of individual applications.

Given that the implementation of any such system or guidelines would affect all, market participants should get in contact with their local industry bodies to ensure that their view is (or can be) incorporated into the submissions being presented.

Irrelevant of next steps and timing of the implementation of the changes arising from the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (SA), it is clear that 2017 will reflect that the Government’s focus on encouraging, promoting and assisting with greater density within the existing suburbs of metropolitan Adelaide as well as encouraging increased city living.

For more information, or if you want to be put in touch with an industry body, please contact us.

[1] South Australian Government Data Directory, Median house sales by quarter,

For more information, please contact:
William Esau

William Esau
p.  +61 8 8124 1955
e.  Email me

This communication provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information. Should you wish to discuss any matter raised in this report, or what it means for you, your business or your clients' businesses, please feel free to contact us.

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