Planning for a development
Regulations to consider
When scoping a development project, it is important to be aware of environmental regulations that might impact your proposed works.
Developers need to consider regulations surrounding:
- Native vegetation
- Threatened species and ecological communities
- State heritage
- Ground and surface water
- River Murray
- Access and use of Crown land and reserves
- Other considerations.
Understanding these regulations will help you identify any potential constraints to your proposed development, any direct financial implications to allow for, and any extra timeframes that need to be factored in.
It is important to consider these areas as part of the early feasibility/concept phase of your project, so that you can plan your development fully informed and avoid unnecessary obstacles as your development application progresses.
For further advice or support contact the DEW Strategic Policy and Impact Assessment Team on 08 8463 4854 or email DEWplanningandassessment@sa.gov.au.
Does your proposed development involve clearing native vegetation?
Any proposed development must seek to avoid or minimise clearing native vegetation. This includes killing it, removing branches or limbs, burning it, grazing or flooding, or any other activity that will cause substantial damage to the vegetation.
If clearing native vegetation is necessary, permission is required.
To find out what’s required:
- Use the interactive guide to learn if and how you need to apply for permission, and whether approval is required from the Native Vegetation Council.
- If Native Vegetation Council approval is required, engage an accredited consultant to undertake an assessment of the vegetation that will be impacted by the proposed development.
If permission is granted to clear native vegetation, restoration or an offset might be required.
Does your proposed development impact on native wildlife?
Under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 a permit is required to:
- take (catch, restrain, euthanase etc.) protected animals, or
- keep and/or release protected animals in South Australia.
It is an offence to undertake these activities without a permit.
Interaction with any animal in South Australia must be compliant with the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 1985.
Any wildlife management must be based on sound ecological, environmental, social and economic factors, see DEW’s Principals for managing wildlife.
DEW may issue permits to manage, control and destroy wildlife including a:
- Permit to Destroy Wildlife where protected fauna are causing, or likely to cause, damage to the environment or to crops, stock or other property (including built structures); or constitute a safety risk or hazard to people or industry.
- Wildlife Management (Controller) Permit which entitles the holder to provide a range of wildlife management and control services (whether or not for commercial gain), including relocation or destruction, for protected animals identified in the permit by reference to their species or other class to which they belong.
Find out more about these permits here.
Threatened species and ecological communities
Does the proposed development directly or indirectly impact threatened species and/or ecological communities?
To find out what is, or might be, present:
- Conduct a database search. Start with NatureMaps and the Commonwealth’s Protected Matters Search Tool.
- Engage a consultant to survey for species and communities using appropriate timing and survey methodology.
Your proposal may require approval under the Commonwealth EPBC Act.
Are there direct or indirect impacts to a State Heritage Listed place or area on the project site?
To find out whether the site involves a heritage place or area:
- Conduct a heritage database search. If a heritage place or area is identified, contact your local council for further advice.
Is the project likely to involve any form of disturbance to the land or seafloor that may impact on a historic shipwreck?
To find out whether the site is in the vicinity of a historic shipwreck:
- Use NatureMaps. If the project site is within 500m of an historic shipwreck, seek advice from Heritage SA.
Ground and surface water
Does your project involve accessing ground or surface water? This could include:
- accessing prescribed water resources
- applying for a water allocation license
- undertaking water-affecting activities, such as interfering with the flow of a creek bed
- excavations that affect the flow of water across a landscape, such as building a dam
- constructing a well.
To find out whether your development is within a prescribed water area:
- Use the Location SA map viewer. If it is within a prescribed water area, the next step is to apply for a permit.
Permits may also be required for other impacts on water resources. Check the DEW website for further information.
Is your project located in the River Murray floodplain or tributaries area?
To find out:
- Use the Location SA map viewer to view prescribed water areas.
If your proposed development is within this area, your development application may be referred to the Minister administering the River Murray Act 2003. Make sure that your project is consistent with the object and objectives of the Act.
Will your project directly or indirectly impact sensitive coastal features, such as sand dunes, or will it be exposed to coastal hazards like flooding, erosion, sand dune drift or acid sulfate soils?
Coastal developments need to comply with the Coast Protection Board’s policies.
To find out what is required:
- Refer to the Coastal Planning Information Package, paying particular attention to:
- Definition of coastal land (p9).
- Coast Protection Board Referral Checklist (p37).
- Information Requirements – Development on Coastal Land Checklist (p38).
Is your project in a marine park marine park zone or does it impact on the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary?
To find out:
- Use the interactive map to check SA’s marine park boundaries. If your proposed development is within a marine park zone check the zone descriptions and activities permitted in the zone.
- Visit the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary webpage for more information and contact details.
Access and use of Crown land and national parks/reserves
Is your development on public land (Crown land or in a national park/reserve)? If so, you will need approval for short-term and/or ongoing access to the land. Development approval does not constitute approval for short-term or ongoing access to public land and vice versa.
To find out whether your proposed development is on public land:
- Contact the Crown land team or learn how to Identify Crown land
If your proposal is on public land, it is important to be aware of the following:
- Crown land – Depending on the type of development, there are various types of Crown land tenures that may be considered, such as purchasing Crown land, leasing, licensing or easements.
- Parks and Reserves – If your development is in a national park or reserve, your request to access and use public land may need to be considered within the department’s Unsolicited Proposals process.
The National Parks and Crown Lands Program will help identify any early considerations that your development may need to address and will assist in determining the most appropriate tenure type. Land tenure assessments can often be undertaken simultaneously with development assessments.
For further information or assistance contact your local Crown Land Office in the first instance.
When scoping a project, developers might like to consider principles of sustainable development, where applicable.
To find out more about how to take these into account, read:
- Climate change mitigation and adaptation
- Fire and flood risk
- Sustainable soil management
- Sustainable water management
- Water sensitive urban design
- Green infrastructure
- Healthy parks, healthy people.