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Relief for councils from SA Planning Portal contributions

The LGA has welcomed the Government’s decision to delay the commencement of council contributions towards the State’s new planning system.

Local government contributions to the cost of establishing and maintaining the SA Planning Portal were scheduled to begin this year, but will now commence in 2018/19.

LGA President Lorraine Rosenberg said the LGA requested this deferral on behalf of the sector after members expressed concern about the financial impact on councils and communities.

“While supportive of the efficiencies that can be achieved through an e-planning system, the LGA has identified and is working through a number of potential issues with the Government’s cost-recovery model,” Mayor Rosenberg said.

“Many councils had already commenced their budget planning for 2017/18 when they received advice of their proposed contributions for this year, forcing them to consider funding cuts to other priorities.”

“Another concern we raised was that council contributions were due to commence before the system was fully operational and the expected benefits could be realised and measured.”

“We appreciate the Minister’s agreement to defer local government contributions for 12 months.”

Under the proposed cost recovery system, all 68 of South Australia’s councils would pay an annual fee as well as an additional levy based on the number of planning applications lodged through the system.

The annual cost to each council is expected to range from $4,000 - $36,000, depending on the extent of development activity and level of assessment fees collected.

Mayor Rosenberg said this was just one example of the LGA’s support for councils in the transition to the State’s new planning system.

“The LGA recently produced model templates to help councils establish terms of reference and meeting procedures for the new Development Assessment Panels they are required to set up by 1 October,” Mayor Rosenberg said.

“These resources – combined with the deferral of SA Planning Portal contributions – are expected to save our sector around $1 million.”

“We were also successful in including a significant number of amendments in the Government’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016, that included retaining council member representation on Development Assessment Panels.”

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