Public Meeting 4th February – 7.30pm

Speaker:   Professor Chris Daniels

Professor Chris Daniels PhD DSc FAICD is currently Director of Cleland Wildlife Park Adelaide, South Australia and is adjunct Professor of Biology in the School of Pharmacy & Medical Sciences at UniSA. He is focussed on conserving wildlife and connecting people with nature. Chris Daniels was Professor of Urban Ecology at UniSA, Director of the Barbara Hardy Institute at UniSA and the presiding member of the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges NRM Board.

Chris has published 9 books published and over 250 scientific and community publications. Books include Adelaide Nature of a City (2005) and Adelaide Water of a City (2010). Book awards include the Whitley Award, and awards from the Planning Institute of Aust., Storm-water Industry and Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. Other books include The Possum-tail Tree, The Fearsome Flute players, and Guide to Urban Wildlife. In Oct 2018 Adelaide University awarded him a Doctor of Science (DSc) for his research into “The lives of animals and animals in our lives”.

When: Tuesday 4th February 2020

Where: Unley Community Centre
18 Arthur Street. Unley

Time: 7.30pm

Please join us for a light supper at the conclusion of the presentation.

There will be a short FOCUS Member meeting after supper.

A gold coin donation would be appreciated to cover costs of Hall Hire and Supper.

Further queries:
President: Warren Jones 0419 852 622 / Secretary: Mary Rumbold 0450 434 16



A Slippery Slope to Nowhere

The South Australian Government’s draft Planning and Design Code, which was released prematurely on 1st October, is riddled with serious errors, poor policy, omissions, and is accompanied by an almost incomprehensible digital navigation

There is now a considerable groundswell of public opinion, shared by the Local Government Association, expert urban planners, many parliamentarians, and, even, a demoralised Planning Department staff that the implementation of the Code must be delayed. This would need to be followed by a process of review, repair and proper consultation with key stakeholders and the community, before any changes were made to the current planning system.

Last week, State Parliament’s Upper House, with support from the Labor Opposition, voted to defer Code implementation date from 1st July 2020. This sends a clear message to the Premier, his Planning Minister and Cabinet. Continuing carriage and support of John Rau’s divisive Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act, passed in 2016 by the previous Labor Government, and the implementation of an unworkable Code, will pose a damaging electoral threat to him and his Government.

Last Friday the Community Alliance SA and local residents demonstrated outside the Premier’s Norwood Electoral Office. He must heed their message of concern about threatened heritage, unrestrained unban infill and the spread of high rise development in residential areas. He risks sleepwalking into an electoral disaster.

The Premier must rein in his Minister for Planning and the State Planning Commission who have released, and are marketing a Planning and Design Code that is unfit for purpose, and which has been a travesty of public communication and consultation.

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

Printable Version: Slippery slope POHA News release 10Dec2019

The State Government seems hell bent on creating poorly planned and designed infill development across urban Adelaide. This will be at an untold cost to public amenity and to our built and natural environment. The government has no public mandate for this strategy which is widely opposed on economic and environmental grounds.

Misguided policy directed by lobbyists for the development industry will undermine current property values for short term windfall profits by developers at the expense of existing property owners and the wider community. Historic buildings and precincts, established trees and open space will be sacrificed for more low quality infill development that does nothing to enhance the sustainability of our urban environment or prepare us for the challenges of a changing climate.

The proliferation of infill development has escalated under the watch of the State Planning Commission (SPC) since its establishment two years ago. And this is only a prelude to the full implementation of the new Planning and Design Code, which will offer developers weakened demolition protections for heritage places and the opportunity to take advantage of perversely flexible new provisions which can be manipulated to their advantage.

The stated aim of the SPC to encourage, if not mandate, eco-sensitive requirements for infill building applications is pie-in-the-sky. The Commission’s track record to date would argue that it doesn’t have the will or the means to implement such a policy.
Indeed, there is already pushback from the building industry against the proposal for tree retention and planting in new developments. Their justification for this position hides under a cloak of affordability for aspiring homeowners. In fact, the true motivation is not altruism but greed – the maximization of profit.

It is likely that the SPC will capitulate to this pressure. To do otherwise would be at odds with its current accommodation of applications for ugly, overcrowded infill which subsume land footprints to the exclusion of trees, greening, open space and water conservation.

The effects of overcooked residential infill will be exaggerated by high rise proposals in the draft Code for main roads and shopping centres.
Buildings in urban corridor zones, such as Unley Rd, will be able to accrue an additional height ‘bonus’ in certain circumstances, and their interface building envelope angle will increase from 30 degrees to 45 degrees. This means higher developments, with footprints
closer to roadside and residential boundaries, leading to overlooking and overshadowing of adjacent properties.

In addition, a host of designated suburban shopping precincts have been slated for six storey development. These include many small groups of ‘neighbourhood’ shops scattered across metropolitan Adelaide.

The combined, cumulative effects of these intrusions into our suburbs will bypass municipal and community rights and irrevocably distort the established and desirable character and amenity these areas.

In order to prevent this looming disaster, the Government must immediately engage the community in a genuine conversation about where and how infill development is necessary and acceptable, rather than the free-for-all envisaged in its draft Planning and Design Code.

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

It may be Thanksgiving in America, but in South Australia we are faced with turkeys of a different kind.

The State Planning Commission’s draft Planning and Design Code, released in October, is an overcooked, bloated turkey. It totals 61,794 pages of hard copy and electronic documents covering a proposed new statewide planning system. Its massive size and complexity is compounded by extensive errors and omissions, making it inaccessible and incomprehensible to the public.

Moreover, the provisions in the Code, if implemented, will weaken protection of heritage places, promote unrestrained crowded urban infill, enable high rise development in small suburban shopping precincts and erode our natural environment of trees, greening and open space.

Greens MLC, Mark Parnell has introduced a Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Commencement of Code) Amendment Bill 2019 which allows the Minister for Planning to postpone the implementation of the Code from July 2020 to a later date.
The Bill, which will be debated in the Upper House on 4th December 2019, seeks to create an opportunity to review and re-construct the Code which, at present is incomplete, inaccurate and unfit for purpose. It would also allow proper consultation and feedback from the community which thus far has been impossible.
We urge you to contact Members of the Legislative Council and ask them to support the passage of the bill to defer the implementation of the Planning and Design code until the community has had an opportunity to understand and debate it.

Warren Jones AO, Convenor of the Protect our Heritage Alliance says:

“The draft Planning and Design Code is an exercise in incompetence and deception on a grand scale. It beggars belief to think that the Government can mess with the property rights of everyone in this State in this ham-fisted and undemocratic way. As the electorate wakes up to the cost in property rights and values and the loss of amenity in their neighbourhoods and towns, the Government will be so on the nose that the stink about the land tax will pale into insignificance. If the Marshall Government persists on this ill-considered path, it will pay the price at the next election.”

“The Planning Minister must call a halt to this farcical process until the mess that is the Planning and Design Code is sorted out. The Government must clearly and unambiguously spell-out the changes it proposes, and give the public the time and opportunity to consider and debate the issues properly.”

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 Government’s draft Planning and Design Code has dealt a potentially fatal blow to the state’s heritage protections by failing to include key information that defines the protection for historic buildings across the State.

Under the proposed new planning rules, heritage protections are applied through a ‘heritage overlay’ which defines what is to be protected and puts controls on modification and demolition of properties in those areas. Currently, there are around 140 such historic conservation areas across the state, across 25 council areas. Most of the protected heritage buildings in the state are within these areas, which in total amount to less than 3% of all buildings in South Australia.

Despite months of spin and misinformation from the State Planning Commission about maintaining heritage protections, buried within the 5000 pages of the unwieldy draft Code documents is further evidence of the Commission’s intention to gut current protections for our heritage by neglecting to include meaningful information about what should be protected under the new rules.

Under the new Code, ‘historic area statements’ are meant to define what is to be retained in these areas and protected from demolition or inappropriate development. However, these detailed descriptions of what is most highly valued and valuable in these areas are conspicuously absent from the draft Code, just one of many critical omissions. The draft Code offers no effective or consistent policy to provide protection for the built heritage that is the heart of these historic conservation zones, which comprise the most valuable and cherished historic streetscapes, neighborhoods and townships in the state.

Instead, the Commission, three weeks after releasing the draft Code for public consultation, asked local councils to do that work. The draft historic area statements provided to 12 rural councils by the State Planning Commission are particularly poor. Rural councils are especially disadvantaged as they have been given barely a month to review the historic area statements and to consult with their communities by 29 November. If allowed to pass these inadequate, vague and loose descriptions proposed by the Commission would effectively remove meaningful protections for hundreds of our most historically significant buildings in towns such as Robe, Penola and Moonta.

The statements proposed by the Commission consist of sketchy and often incoherent phrases that can easily be circumvented meaning that what is most valued in some of our most significant heritage towns will no longer be protected from damaging alteration or demolition.

This farcical process could have been avoided if the Code had actually been complete when released for public consultation in October and if there had been proper public consultation on the future of heritage protection under the new planning system. As it stands, the Code will expose thousands of historic places to the risk of demolition by removing or watering down protections that have been in place for decades. This is unacceptable and yet another breach of faith by the State Planning Commission in translating heritage protections into the new planning system.

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

Lost in Translation -POHA News release 26Nov2019

Authorised by Warren Jones, President – Friends of the City of Unley Society, Inc, (FOCUS)


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