Expert panel on planning reform 'ideas for reform': Independent commentary on proposed reform ideas

Local government Community participation Urban planning Property property development South Australia
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The Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning (CHURP) has been engaged by the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA) to provide Independent Commentary on the reform proposals put forward by the Expert Panel on Planning Reform.

The Expert Panel on Planning Reform’s Ideas for Reform report has 27 suggestions on how to create a new, more efficient and citizen-engaged South Australian planning system. Planning and urban development is an important part of the work and interests of Local Governments and the LGASA will be consulting with Councils throughout August and September 2014. We understand that it will respond to the Panel with a sector-wide position.

Local Government is a key stakeholder in the planning system; but Local Governments acknowledge that Councils are not the only users of the planning system. In developing responses to the Panel’s ideas for reform, the LGASA is keen to keep an open mind about the overall effectiveness of the reform proposals. This report provides an independent commentary on the Expert Panel on Planning Reform’s Ideas for Reform report, with a particular focus on governance and decision making structures.

This commentary includes analysis of the Panel’s ideas in terms of how well they satisfy the planning reform objectives endorsed by the LGASA Board. The LGASA Board requirements for a reformed planning system are shown in Appendix 1. This report presents a ‘score card’ on how the LGASA Board objectives are satisfied by the Expert Panel’s reform ideas. The LGASA’s aspirations for reform in planning are entirely commendable – it seeks a system that is more accessible, integrated, accountable and locally-involved. However, the match between LGASA aspirations and the recommendations of the Expert Panel is imperfect because the former focuses on outcomes while the latter addresses process issues. That is, the recommendations of the Expert Panel have the potential to deliver the objectives set out by the LGASA but do not offer certainty.

The report briefly discusses whether the proposed structures will result in a more cost effective use of public resources and includes commentary about how development outcomes might be improved in a tangible way.

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