GREENS MOTION: Disallowance of Development Assessment Regulations

Today Mark moved to disallow the Government's Regulations made under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 concerning development assessment.  


I move: 

That the regulations, made under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 concerning development assessment made on 27 June 2019 and laid on the table of this council on 2 July 2019, be disallowed.

In so moving, I note that it is the third motion on exactly this topic that is on our Notice Paper. There is an identical motion in the name of the Hon. Clare Scriven and another identical motion in the name of the Hon. Terry Stephens, although his motion to be fair I do not think represents any break with his party colleagues. I think they refer to them as holding motions as part of the review process for regulations, so I fully expect that his will be discharged or more likely just lapse when, as we all expect, Parliament is prorogued.

When the Hon. Clare Scriven, back in September, moved to disallow these regulations, she pointed out a couple of areas that the Labor Party was unhappy with. She pointed out issues in relation to deemed planning consent, and that is a regime whereby if a yes is not given fast enough, then it is handed out automatically, even if an assessment has not been undertaken. In my view, that is very poor policy. She also pointed out that there are some problems in relation to accredited professional land surveyors being able to provide planning consent for deemed to satisfy land divisions and there is a range of other concerns.

It is no surprise that there are a lot of concerns because these are 179 pages of regulations. I am not going to go through every one of them but what I will say is this: the new planning system, which is being introduced over the next year or so, is a dog's breakfast. It has highlighted so many inadequacies in the system. There are problems in relation to heritage. We have seen with the rollout of the Planning and Design Code phases 1, 2 and 3 that there are problems and mistakes in relation to maps and zones and heights.

I have referred before to the famous case of the block of land in Bowden where you are allowed to build an eight-storey building, provided it is only four metres high, which means that a guinea pig hotel is probably soon to be constructed on that site because that is the only way you could get an eight-storey building in a four-metre height limit.

So we know there are lots of problems with the system. I, for one, think that the Government is not taking the community's concerns seriously enough. We have raised many concerns over many months in relation to the process and the actual content of the Planning and Design Code and the various policies under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act.

This chamber has very few tools open to it to object and, when the Government rejects every overture that has been made by the community sector, by the Labor Party, by the Greens, by anyone else, we have to use the tools that are available to us. So disallowing these regulations is a quite drastic measure. It basically undoes the mechanics of the implementation of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act. It will cause some havoc in the department.

My expectation is that, if these regulations are disallowed, they will promptly be reinstated. Whether it is in the Government Gazette next Thursday or the one after, I have no doubt that they will want to put them back into place. If that is what they do, so be it, because that gives this Parliament a proper opportunity to again look at them next year and move to disallow them again.

Currently, the only part of the act that is operational in relation to geographic areas of South Australia is in relation to the outback and coastal waters. The number of applications that are lodged, you can count without taking your socks off. It is not going to cause a great deal of difficulty on the ground but it will create havoc in the department when these regulations are disallowed. As I said, we have so few tools available to us to get the message across to the Government that this planning system that they are trying to introduce is not working.

There is another bill—we will be voting on it next week—to allow the postponement of the Planning and Design Code to give the Government time to get it right. But this disallowance motion is another shot across the bows of the Government to pay attention to the people who are genuinely on board with trying to get a better planning system but not on board with the way the Government is doing it and with the dodgy content that they have been incorporating into state planning policies and the Planning and Design Code.

I will be sending a note out, as I am sure other members will, about items they want to bring to a vote on the next Wednesday of sitting, being our final sitting week. This will be one of those. I will be moving or asking the Council to vote on this disallowance next Wednesday and, as I made the point before, it will be no surprise to people. It has been on the Notice Paper for a very long time.

The Greens' motion is identical to the Labor Party motion and I am hoping that they will stick to their guns and stay true to their word and support disallowance. I hope my colleagues in SA-Best will as well, because this is the only chance we have to show our dissatisfaction with the planning system and make them do some work by putting these 179 pages back in the Government Gazette after we disallow them.

We will then have another opportunity next year, if they have not made the improvements to the planning system that need to be made, to disallow the next set of regulations as well. We want the Government to listen to the committee and take the committee seriously on the matters of heritage and environment protection. Disallowing these regulations is a great way to get this message across.