Information on specific Major Development applications can be found on the sa.gov.au website.
As of 14 December 2006, the DAC assumed a role at the start of the Major Development proposal assessment process under the Development Act 1993.
What is the Major Development assessment process?
Under Section 46 of the Development Act 1993, the Minister for Planning can declare a proposed development a 'Major Development' if he or she believes such a declaration is appropriate or necessary for proper assessment of the proposed development, and where the proposal is considered to be of major economic, social or environmental importance.
This triggers a thorough state-run assessment process with opportunity for public comment before any decision is made on whether the proposal warrants an approval.
The assessment process has five stages:
- Referral of the development application to the DAC for setting of detailed assessment level (see below) and issuing of Assessment Guidelines
- The proponent prepares an assessment document and issues it for a mandatory period of public and agency comment
- The proponent responds to the public and agency comment
- The Minister assesses the proposal and issues an Assessment Report
- Decision by the Governor
More detail on the process can be found on the sa.gov.au website.
The DAC's role in setting the Assessment level
Once a proposal has been declared a Major Development proposal by the Minister and the Development Application received, the Application is referred to the Development Assessment Commission.
When considering a Major Development proposal referral, the DAC may be augmented by the appointment of one or two people by the Minister from a list of independent specialists, who have particular expertise in issues surrounding the sort of development being proposed. The following specialist members have been appointed for the 2016-2018 term:
- Ms Emily Jenke - River Murray Floodplain Area
- Mr Ian Kowalicki - River Murray Floodplain Area
- Professor Anthony Cheshire - Marina Parks and Coast
- Professor Rob Lewis - Marina Parks and Coast
The augmented DAC will consider the application and identify the key social, environmental and economic issues relevant to the assessment of the proposed development. The DAC may consult with relevant State agencies as part of this process. It will then determine which level of further detailed assessment is required and issue formal assessment Guidelines.
The three possible levels of detailed assessment which can be required by the DAC are:
- An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This is the level of assessment required for the most complex proposals, where there is a wide range of issues to be investigated in depth. If the project proponent is directed to prepare an EIS it must do so and then release it for public comment for at least six weeks, and hold a public meeting in an area close to the site of the proposed development.
- A Public Environmental Report (PER). This level of assessment - sometimes referred to as a 'targeted EIS' - applies where the issues surrounding the proposal require investigation in depth but are narrower in scope and relatively well known, or there is existing information available. A PER must also be released for public comment for at least six weeks, and a public meeting held in an area close to the site of the proposed development.
- A Development Report (DR). This is the least complex level of assessment, which relies principally on existing information. For a DR level of assessment, a meeting is not a statutory requirement and the report would need to be released for three weeks for public comment.
The DAC will publicly issue a Guidelines document to the proponent as to what level of assessment is required and what issues that assessment should address.
This concludes the DAC's role in this part of the major development assessment process.
Variations following decision
At the completion of the major development assessment process, the Governor will make a decision on whether to decline or approve the development application and, if approved, with what conditions attached.
From time-to-time proponents may seek variations to the development approval issued by the Governor.
The Commission can act as the Governor’s delegate for assessing variations for approved Major Developments.