The reasons given by planning Minister Stephan Knoll (Media Release 7 February 2020) for the delayed implementation of the Planning and Design Code seemed implausible at the time. Now we know that they were incorrect.

In his Media Release, the Minister said that:

“ The State Government is on track to deliver the new Planning and Design Code on time.” “…….the advice from the (State Planning) Commission is that stake holders, councils and the community are asking for more time to understand the Code and become familiar with the new E Planning system”.
“It would be counterproductive to the planning system and developments across South Australia if we were to ignore the feedback from councils and the community and push ahead with the initial timelines.”

On face value, none of this made sense. The Government had been receiving, and largely ignoring, advice and feedback from councils and the community for many months. And if further discussion was to occur and more advice solicited, why was the ‘Consultation’ Period deadline maintained at February, and not moved to accommodate further feedback.

As it turns out, the answer is simple. The Code delay has nothing to do with the reasons given by the Minister. In fact, there is much evidence that the Code is an incomplete and ill-formed mess, and the essential implementation tool, the electronic e- planning system is unworkable. MORE … The truth comes out- News release 17Feb2020

It now seems that Greens Bill to allow the delay the implementation of the Code will be voted on in the Lower House next week.  As foreshadowed by the Planning Minister, it will be passed, placing the Phase 2 and 3 Codes (rural and metropolitan) in a sort of limbo where they can be progressively delayed for longer at the discretion of the Minister without reference back to Parliament.    This open ended arrangement is hoped to accommodate ongoing problems with the readiness of the Code and the utility of its E Planning tool.
The three aims outlined here by Mark Parnell are the very least we would hope to be fulfilled in this messy ongoing process.    The problem is that we don’t know when and how it will all end.   It has been a disgraceful saga of poor policy, inept administration, and incompetence, embellished by a lamentable lack of transparency and accountability.
Warren Jones
President.    FOCUS
Marl Parnell MLC
We all want the places where we live, work or visit to be nice. With the right rules in place, we can enjoy well-planned neighbourhoods, with human-scale development, open spaces and good amenities. However, if the Government gets it wrong, we can end up with blighted, unattractive neighbourhoods devoid of greenery and any sense of community.

At the end of February, the State Planning Commission will close the consultation period on the biggest, most complicated reform of planning rules in a generation.

For the last four months, the Greens, residents’ groups, local councils, conservation organisations and others have been poring over the documents.  We have found a litany of errors, omissions and stuff-ups.  For example, many of our National Parks were zoned “Rural”, (the same as farm land), when they were supposed to be zoned “Conservation”.

Months after pointing this out, it still hasn’t been fixed, despite the Government promising to do so.

In the suburbs, some single-storey areas have been zoned for six storeys with no advance warning.  Whilst some changes are deliberate, others clearly are mistakes, such as the zone in Brompton that allows 8 storey buildings, provided the buildings are no more than 4 metres high.

To make matters worse, the media are reporting significant resignations from the Planning Departmentwhich has set back the Government’s plans.  That’s why we were pleased that the Government has now taken the Greens’ advice and decided to postpone the commencement date for the new planning rules.  We even passed a Greens’ Bill that enables the Government to do this this, last year.

However, what the Government has NOT done, is give the community more time to provide feedback.  That is unacceptable.

Given the magnitude of the task and the errors identified so far, the Greens believe that once the Government has made the thousands of changes required, it must give the community the chance to see whether or not the final version of the new Planning and Design Code is really what we want for our cities, towns, suburbs and regions.

In Parliament, the Greens will be pushing for:

  1. Fixing errors and inconsistencies, but NO sneaky rezonings;
  2. Inclusion of ALL identified places of heritage significance, including “contributory items”; and
  3. A final round of community consultation before the final Planning & Design Code becomes operational.

If you agree, makes sure you tell Planning Minister Stephan Knoll before the end of February.

If you want to try to navigate the new Code to see what it means for where you live, first make a strong cup of tea and then dive in here.  You can also click on an interactive map to find the planning rules that apply to places you care about.  You can find the map here. Warning: a second cup of tea (or stronger) might be needed.  Good luck!


Mark Parnell MLC
Greens Member of SA Parliament

P.S. Please don’t reply to this address as necessary changes to the server has meant that replies won’t be delivered – you can contact me at parnell@parliament.sa.gov.au instead.

Mark Parnell MLC · Parliament House North Tce, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
This email was sent to DPeacock@nationaltrustsa.org.au. To update your email preferences, click here. To stop receiving emails, click here.
You can also keep up with Mark Parnell MLC on Twitter or Facebook.

Are Planning Minister Stephen Knoll and his bureaucrats in the State Planning Commission and DPTI deluded, or in abject denial about the state and fate of the embattled Planning and Design Code?

So far this year, there have been seven crippling resignations from the Department of Planning……two senior planners and five key IT personnel.

Despite repeated attempts by Government to defend, whitewash and resuscitate the Code, it remains an incomplete, ill-formed mess. And, critically, its vital implementation tool, the E-Planning system is in disarray. It was meant to be functional nine months ago. It is still moribund and unfit for purpose, and its future is uncertain.

This program is essential to the Implementation and functioning of the Code; without it, the Planning, Infrastructure and Development Act will lapse, and four years of time, money and effort will have been wasted.

Yet, in the face of this chaos and uncertainty, the Minister would have us believe that all is well, and that the recently announced delay in the implementation process relates to a perceived need for stakeholders and the community to understand and prepare for the launch of the Code. This is palpably implausible, and the refusal to extend the consultation period for the Phase 3 (metropolitan) Code beyond the end of this month, makes a mockery of this cynical exercise in obfuscation which is clearly designed to blunt community anxiety and anger.

The only valid explanation for the proposed three month delay is that the Code process is in chaos, and its future uncertain. Instead of denying the problem, the Minister, the Chair of the State Planning Commission, and Planning Department need to take immediate and serious steps to re-assess and re-construct the Code. This must include a genuine and rigorous public consultation process.

Get it right….however long it takes!

Professor Warren Jones AO is the Convenor of the Protect our Heritage Alliance, a coalition of concerned organisations and individuals, working to protect our built and natural environment. Phone: 0419 852 622 Email: convenor@protectourheritage.org.au

The State Planning Commission continues to deceive and befuddle the public with its shambolic draft Planning and Design Code and more misinformation about its effects on heritage protection.

Now the Commission is sending misleading letters to property owners about proposed changes to the rules protecting the historic character of our streets, neighbourhoods, suburbs and towns. See our latest news release.
We urge owners receiving these letters from the State Planning Commission to demand the full story about the changes proposed in their areas and to hold the Government to account for this shifty attempt to gut current heritage protections and diminish the value and amenity of thousands of properties across the State.

Planning Minister Stephan Knoll is hiding behind a report commissioned by the government which he claims supports his argument that changes proposed under the Planning and Design Code strengthen current heritage protections. The report says nothing of the sort. In fact, the report acknowledges that its authors were “not in a position to review the policies proposed by the commission”. This is hardly the vindication falsely claimed by the Minister.

In December, State Parliament’s Upper House passed a private members bill from Greens MP Mark Parnell with the support of the Labor Opposition and SA Best, to defer implementation of the Planning and Design Code from 1st July 2020 to ensure proper community consultation and to fix the many flaws, gaps and omissions in the draft code. Regional areas currently face the threat of an implementation date in April.

Now that Parliament has returned, the Lower House will have the opportunity to pass the bill to enable a deferment of the Planning and Design Code until its many flaws and widespread community concerns have been addressed.
Meanwhile, the Planning Commission continues its belligerence towards any questioning about the Code’s potential impacts on heritage. State Planning Commissioner Allan Holmes put in another aggressive public performance on ABC Radio this week. (Listen here on Peter Goers Evening Radio program from 2:23.10- 2:41:00). So much for public debate!
You can show your support for protecting our heritage by writing to your local MP about your concerns with the Planning and Design Code and urging them to defer its implementation.

You can also write to the Planning Department DPTIPlanningReform@sa.gov.au and tell them that you cannot respond to their deadline of 28 February for community feedback on the draft Code because the 3000+ pages of documentation and the online information system are inaccessible and incomprehensible for most people.

You might also suggest that the Government stop, consult and get it right
before proceeding any further.


The original online petition to the Premier has almost 10 000 signatures. If you haven’t yet signed it, click the button below, sign and share the online petition.

Sign and share the online petition

Download the written petition to Parliament and collect signatures!
Online petitions are just the start. We need 10 000 written signatures to ensure Parliament debates the problems with the new planning rules. Print some copies and start collecting signatures now.

Download the petition to Parliament

Why you should sign the petition

Contact your State MP and tell them you want them to support the Bill to defer implementation of the Planning & Design Code

Download a list of State MP contacts


Community Rally
Parliament House
11 am Sunday 22 March

Professor Warren Jones AO is the Convenor of the Protect our Heritage Alliance, a coalition of concerned organisations and individuals, working to protect our built and natural environment.

Phone: 0419 852 622 Email: convenor@protectourheritage.org.au

On Tuesday 4 February, Biologist, Ecologist, Wildlife Expert and Public Commentator, Professor Chris Daniels (pictured) gave a masterly talk to a packed audience of 170 at the Unley Community Centre. He spoke of the historical interplay between diversity and human habitation, and the distortion of this balance by urban infill and over development.IMG_8081.jpg

Strong views were shared about loss of trees, canopy and green space, and the inadequate response to global warming.

A total of $400 was donated by members of the audience towards the Koala rescue, treatment and rehabilitation program at the Cleland Park Wildlife Centre with Chris Daniels is Director.

IMG_8037.jpgProf. Chris Daniels is currently Director of Cleland Wildlife Park and will be speaking on this important topic at 7.30pm on Tuesday 4th February 2020 in the Unley Community Centre, Arthur St, Unley. This bears directly on the prospect of unfettered urban infill envisaged under the proposed new Planning and Design Code.

All welcome to attend.

In lieu of our usual gold coin donation towards refreshments on the evening (which will still be provided!), we ask that you make a contribution to the Cleland animal rescue and treatment facility.

We hope you can attend.

Warren Jones. President. FOCUS.


%d bloggers like this: