Adelaide councils decry planning power grab

By Paul Hemsley

The South Australian Local Government Association (LGA) has hit out at a strategy from Premier Jay Weatherill to kickstart inner-metropolitan property development, warning elements of the move will strip planning powers from city councils.

Known as the Housing in the City policy, Mr Weatherill announced the changes last week as a way to revitalise Adelaide’s inner-metropolitan area by allowing up to 18,500 new homes in rezoned areas as a way of encouraging a mix of medium to high density homes, offices and shops.

However a key aspect of the strategy that has alarmed councils is that powers for the state government’s Development Assessment Commission’s will be expanded for pre-lodgement, design review and assessment for developments five storeys or above in newly rezoned areas.

The LGA has taken this to mean that the planning authority of councils will be diminished and has reacted by announcing that it will review the implications of the government’s decision.

LGA vice president Lorraine Rosenberg said that no consultation had occurred with the LGA regarding the withdrawal of planning powers.

Ms Rosenberg said the LGA was to receive a briefing from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) on the proposed changes.

"On the surface it appears as if communities are being further sidelined from planning processes, but I am prepared to reserve judgement until we can analyse this further,” Ms Rosenberg said.

She said she found comments by Mr Weatherill and Minister for Planning John Rau about council roles in the approval process “confusing”.

"On one hand we are seeing the state control policy by driving changes then authorised by the State Minister and on the other they seem to be saying our role is in policy, not in assessment,” Ms Rosenberg said.

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One thought on “Adelaide councils decry planning power grab

  1. The process of shifting the planning decisions from Councils who represent their individual communites to that of the State will be a disaster for our communities. It will spell the end of a good democratic process that fullfills the very different and specific needs of each local community and will see a transition to tighter, more restrictive practices of a Government less interested in serving the people than the power it weilds.
    It may well be part of a long range plan to bring us one step closer to a situation where a dictatorial regime decides what is best for the people. This is not a time to be silent or complaisant.

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