PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE (RESTRICTED DEVELOPMENT) AMENDMENT BILL

I rise to speak against the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Restricted Development) Amendment Bill 2020. As members in the chamber would be aware, since entering government in 2018 the Marshall Liberal team has been working very hard, together with the members in the department and the Planning Commission, to implement the planning reforms commenced by legislation of this parliament in 2016, and to facilitate the establishment of regulation, design codes and generally a new regime to ultimately conclude with our Development Act being completely repealed and a new regime coming into effect.

Indeed, I recently announced that phase 3 of the planning and development code will go live, as such, on 19 March this year. That final phase is very much part of the work that is being done that will have the effect of dealing with some 90 per cent of planning applications to progress the development of the state.

Very proudly I say that the implementation of the design code with the ePlanning technology has added some extra level of complexity but, nevertheless, it now allows both our outback and regional areas, through phases 1 and 2, to be able to access information electronically and to progress their planning applications, which has been very much appreciated by stakeholders who now have an opportunity to utilise that facility. It has not been without complication. As I say, phase 3, which takes up to 90 per cent of the applications for the state, is going to be the most comprehensive and extensive part of the reform.

Details of the State Planning Commission's proposed policy improvements include the treatment of the North Adelaide Historic Conservation Zone. For members who have not yet looked in any detail at the reforms in this area, I invite them to do so. For those who do not, let me outline that the code will contain policy addressing the development of North Adelaide's institutional sites, which reflects the current policy contained in Adelaide council's development plan.

This bill is seeking to amend section 66 of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 to not allow any exception to a development classified as restricted by the Planning and Design Code unless it is on the site of a prescribed institution within the area currently covered by the North Adelaide Historic Conservation Zone. This bill proposes similar changes to section 23 of the Development Act. I note the reason for introducing this bill is in direct response to the North Adelaide Large Institutions and Colleges DPA, another fraught process led by the former Attorney-General and the former Labor government.

For the purposes of the bill, prescribed institutions are defined as large institutional sites such as the Calvary hospital, Helping Hand Aged Care, Lincoln College, St Ann's College, St Dominic's Priory College and St Mark's College. Of course, we all know these are important institutions, not only for the North Adelaide community but for South Australia at large, and certainly their future is important to everyone.

Requiring the expansion of these sites to be restricted by legislation, even on adjoining land, I suggest with respect is a very blunt instrument that does not recognise the long-term establishment of these facilities and the need for investment to maintain viability and competitiveness. Additionally, it provides the City of Adelaide, the local council, limited opportunities for feedback on future developments relating to these institutions instead of requiring the State Commission Assessment Panel (often called SCAP) to make any and all decisions.

Any policy change relating to the development of these or adjoining sites is best addressed through the Planning and Design Code. As the planning minister, I will continue to work with the City of Adelaide and other stakeholders to ensure that the right performance-based policies are in the code to consider the impacts of development on its surrounding context and setting. In that regard, I commend the Lord Mayor for her diligent work in this area. I have had a number of meetings with her, not in relation to planning matters but obviously as the Minister for Local Government. I appreciate the work of her city council in looking at these matters and of course will continue to work with her.

While it is encouraging in a way, I suppose, that Labor are admitting their error in relation to the policy they introduced back in 2017, the fact of the matter remains that they are attempting to use a blunt instrument to fix something that can be better addressed through the Planning and Design Code. I would urge the member who introduced this bill to continue to be part of those conversations.

I remind members that consultation on the code was concluded just before Christmas as a general consultation process. There has been considerable comment in the submissions that were received, I say almost humbly, welcoming a number of proposed reforms and recommendations by the commission, which had given very careful consideration to, I think, the 1,800-odd submissions received during the phased proposal, which I had announced ought to have another concluding opportunity.

Whilst the number of matters was welcomed, that work has continued and has continued all through this last month. In fact, just last week I again had a meeting with all the stakeholders in relation to tree canopy proposals, how that is going to work and the scheme being proposed. I remind members that scheme is to enable the developer of a property to undertake either a program of replanting or protection of the tree canopy within a proposed development site or pay, into a fund to be established, from $300 for a small tree across to $1,000 for a mature tree.

The design principles in relation to streetscape and other proposals that encourage entry to property, opportunity for tree growth on the streetscape itself and on public lands have, I think, been welcomed. It is a very important part of the government's initiative in relation to climate change as well as helping our city, specifically, to keep cool. Tree canopy is a big issue for us, and the commissioners picked this up and have made amendments. We had a meeting last week in relation to that aspect.

As we move into this concluding period and I ultimately receive the recommendations of the commission, we are very pleased that we are now moving to an identified time when everyone knows that in March we are going to transfer and be able to move to all the good aspects of the new planning laws that were presented back in 2016. As I have said to the parliament before, I remember the then Minister for Planning, the former Attorney-General, saying to me, 'Look, it will take five years, Vickie, to actually bring all the processes into place—preparation of regulation, design codes, etc.'

I thought he was joking, but here we are. It is less than five years since the implementation of the act, so we have managed to keep it cranking along since we came into government to make sure that we have an outcome. It is important that we get on with this, because there are some very good reforms in that legislation from the 2016 act, and we need to be able to advance them.

This is an issue that has been raised by the Adelaide City Council and others, and I note that the bill attempts to deal with the concerns that were raised by these stakeholders. I do not criticise the member in any way for that but I suggest that, unfortunately, it is a very crude instrument that will not resolve the issue, and we have a better way. Sadly, on that basis I have to indicate that the bill will be opposed.