New Planning System Summary

Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 9 November to 18 December 2020. Below is a record of the engagement.

Download the New Planning System PDF

South Australia has a new, modern planning system

PlanSA will completely modernise how planning and development is undertaken and will help shape the communities we want to live and work in, both now and into the future.

It represents the most significant reform of planning and development legislation in South Australia’s history.

The move to an integrated and comprehensive online system is an Australian first, showcasing SA’s drive to be a leader in planning across the globe.

The new planning system is governed by the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act) which will replace the Development Act 1993 when fully implemented across the state in 2021.

PlanSA is Australia’s first state wide ePlanning platform

PlanSA includes the new online Planning and Design Code (the Code) and associated ePlanning platform for South Australia, replacing hard copy council development plans and the manual processing of development applications.

If you are looking to build or renovate your home, subdivide your land, add a shed or carport to your property, you can now submit and track your application online.

The platform allows you to search property zoning, find an accredited professional to help you with your application, review development rules, and track major projects and development activity across the state. You will experience a simpler online planning system with everything in one place.

The Code, underpinned by a modern ePlanning platform, will create a better future for South Australia. The PDI Act that underpins our new planning system now applies to the outback and rural areas of South Australia, with full implementation across metropolitan areas and larger regional towns to occur in 2021.

There are four key parts to our ePlanning platform

PlanSA comprises of multiple online systems, brought together as the new ePlanning platform for South Australia.

1. PlanSA Portal

The PlanSA portal provides the entry point to the new planning system for South Australia.

Through PlanSA, the planning and development system is taken online and provides a one-stop shop website for information, online services and community participation relating to the South Australian planning system.

South Australians will now have the planning information they need at their fingertips, and will be able to access the planning system 24 hours a day using their computer, phone or tablet.

The online Planning and Design Code (the Code), the South Australian Property and Planning Atlas (SAPPA - zoning maps) and the electronic Development Application Processing (DAP) system is accessible from the PlanSA portal.

2. Planning and Design Code (the Code)

The Code is a statutory instrument under the Act for the purposes of development assessment and related matters within South Australia.

The Code is the cornerstone of South Australia’s new planning and development system, replacing all 72 hard copy Development Plans that have been in use across the state with a single set of online planning ‘rules’ for assessing development applications.

The Code will help everyday South Australians navigate the planning system when building a house, developing a business, or progressing large commercial developments. The Code is user-friendly and online, making the planning process quicker, smoother and easier to understand than ever before.

You can view and browse the Planning and Design Code, search for what policies apply to a particular address or what policies apply to a particular development.

For more details and explanation of the Code visit the PlanSA Portal.

The Code is used for:

  • Determining the rules that apply to your land
  • Finding out the relevant assessment pathway that applies to what you want to do
  • Making a comment on a re-zoning proposal for a particular site / land

3. Development Application Processing (DAP)

The DAP system is used to lodge or manage development applications for assessment.

Applicants, organisations and practitioners can all use the DAP system to streamline the application process.

The DAP system is used for:

  • Lodging development applications online
  • Tracking the progress of a lodged development application through the assessment process
  • Assessing applications as a relevant authority and include feedback provided by a referral body
  • Issuing online decisions and digital notifications
  • Monitoring countdown clocks to ensure actions are met within designated timeframes.

4. SA Property and Planning Atlas (SAPPA)

SAPPA is a map-based application which displays where the planning zone boundaries and overlays of the Planning and Design Code apply.These are mapped against the individual property boundaries with the ability to turn on and off property, planning, environmental and infrastructure layers to create a custom view depending on what you are searching for.

SAPPA features many additional layers for the new planning system and integrates to both the PlanSA Portal and to the property register SAILIS.

You can search for a property by address, a plan parcel or certificate of title number. If you don’t know an address, you simply navigate through the map and drop a pin on the desired property.

SAPPA is used for:

  • Finding out the zoning for a particular property or area
  • Determining the overlays applicable to a property
  • Searching land division applications that have been lodged at any point in time

Why is this important to me?

Many people are confused and frustrated with the current planning process, the lack of good design and delays in approvals. Our planning system needs to move with the times and keep up with the changing needs of our community.

There are many system benefits for community members including the new “Deemed-to-Satisfy” assessment category where decisions are to be made within 5 days making it a faster, more efficient and cost effective planning assessment pathway. Other more complex development activities may be considered against the “Performance Assessed” category with decisions made in 20 days.

Some of the community benefits include:

  • Simpler online planning system with everything in one place
  • Application tracking – can monitor all applications in one place – your own personal dashboard
  • More focus on safety and compliance – provides occupants with more assurance
  • Easier access to information
  • Improved public notification of development applications on central web page
  • Able to see all Development Applications via a central online public register
  • Quicker processes and greater certainty for applicants, especially for new homes and minor activities.

PlanSA provides:


  • Easier access to information which is digital by default
  • Seven days a week access


  • Online lodgement and monitoring of applications
  • Map of applications


  • Faster decisions for simple applications
  • Better pathways for complex applications


  • Better data and analytics to monitor the system
  • This information and access gives us real time information and insight into what applications are lodged, what they are for and how long they took to get through the approval processes providing the ability for continual and responsive changes to improve the planning system.


  • Efficient ePlanning system changes to respond to changing regulations and procedures

Glossary of terms

Referral Body

Some developments are in locations or involve activities that require the application to be sent to government agencies or other bodies. Referrals are required when the development proposed may impact on or may be effected by services or matters that other authorities have control over or an interest in.

Relevant Authority

The decision-maker who assesses the development application. Depending on the assessment pathway, this could be an Assessment Manager from council, an independent accredited professional, State Planning Commission or relevant panel.

Deemed-to-Satisfy development

A type of development that meets established criteria, is measurable and is an appropriate land use in its zone. Essentially, the development meets the prescriptive requirements of the Code.

Performance Assessed development

Applies to developments which require more intensive assessment of their potential impacts, design, and how they fit within the neighbourhood.This is an assessment of a development on its own merit against the Code.

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Consultation has concluded

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