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What is the Planning 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 7 March 2017, former Supreme Court Justice Mr Tim Anderson QC was appointed as Chairperson of the Commission. Following this, on 30 May 2017, Mr Michael Lennon, Mr Matt Davis, Ms Janet Finlay, Ms Fairlie Delbridge, and Mr Allan Holmes were appointed as the inaugural members of the Commission. Ms Sally Smith, The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure General Manager, Planning and Development has been appointed as the ex officio member.


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 report 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.


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.