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New planning system and stronger protection for heritage

The introduction of a new planning system for South Australia has seen a new policy approach to protect heritage.

The new policy approach is enshrined in the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016, Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017 and the Planning and Design Code, and includes:

  • a new State Heritage Area Overlay in the Code, which requires any development in a State Heritage Area to maintain the heritage and cultural values through conservation, ongoing use and adaptive reuse consistent with Statements of Significance and other relevant documents prepared and published by the administrative unit of the Public Service that is responsible for assisting a Minister in the administration of the Heritage Places Act 1993 (i.e. Heritage South Australia).
    • policies in the Overlay will take precedence over any applicable Zone and General policies in the Code.
  • The Overlay is the trigger for the planning authority to refer development proposals that may impact the heritage values to the Minister for direction.
    • direction means the Minister is able to direct the planning authority to refuse the development application or impose conditions on any approval*

*Previously the Minister was only able to provide advice to the planning authority. 

Updating existing guidelines for development in State Heritage Areas

In response to the introduction of the new planning system, Heritage South Australia (Heritage SA, under delegation by the Minister) has committed to reviewing and progressively updating the existing guidelines for development for all 17 State Heritage Areas to ensure they are fit for purpose, consistent with the terminology used in the Code and reflect the respective Statement of Significance. 

The guidelines for development for the Colonel Light Gardens State Heritage Area were the first to be updated, in consultation with local councils, Attorney-General’s Department-Planning and Land Use Services, the SA Heritage Council, key community groups, and communities, and the resulting Heritage Standards (Colonel Light Gardens State Heritage Area) were published on 28 April 2021. From this date, the Standards have been used by Heritage SA to guide all decisions on development proposals referred to the Minister.

Heritage SA will continue to review and update the existing guidelines for development for each State Heritage Area in a staged manner over the next few years.

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