The Development Assessment Commission (the Commission) is an independent statutory body established under Part 2 of South Australia's Development Act 1993.
Assessment & decision-making role
The Commission independently assesses and determines specified kinds of development applications in South Australia. These are prescribed in the Development Act and Development Regulations and include:
- Certain developments of significant regional impact eg. new landfill facilities, railway infrastructure, commercial forestry.
- Certain types of development in key areas of the State, including the Hills Face Zone, the River Murray Flood Zone, the Adelaide Park Lands, various Conservation Zones and the Adelaide Hills water catchments, land within irrigation areas, Port Adelaide Centre Zone, Osborne Maritime Policy Area, Bowden Urban Village, the MFP (The Levels) Zone.
- Most Housing SA applications.
- Certain types of development by councils themselves or involving council land, and applications where the council requests (and the Minister for Planning agrees) that the DAC be the assessing authority.
Development in the City of Adelaide greater than $10million. In addition, the Commission acts as if it was a council for planning and building approvals in areas of the state outside a council area (such as the Far North of the state, and many off-shore islands).
In its decision-making role, the Commission:
- operates under the same law, and must apply the same Development Plan policy as would a council development assessment panel
- is subject to the same appeal provisions, and has the same enforcement powers as a council development assessment panel
- normally handles planning issues itself, but delegates building assessment to the relevant council, and
- can establish delegated committees for certain matters or development within particular areas.
Concurrence Role for Non-Complying Development
The Commission also has a role in dealing, together with councils, with applications specifically contrary to Development Plans. Where a council is of the view a proposal warrants approval despite it being ‘non-complying’ with the Development Plan, the council may grant approval provided the Commission agrees.
Assessment and advisory role - Crown development & public infrastructure
The Commission assesses all applications for Crown development and public infrastructure development, providing a report to the Minister for Planning, who makes the final decision. Further information on this process is available here.
Major Developments role
The Commission has a role at the start of the Major Development proposal assessment process under the Development Act 1993.
The Commission reviews the initial development application, sets the level of assessment required and determines the Guidelines for the assessment of the project. Further information on this process can be found here.
The Commission can also act as the Governor’s delegate for assessing variations for approved Major Developments.
In addition, the Commission can - either on its own initiative or at the request of the Minister for Planning - report to the Minister on matters relevant to the development of land and make recommendations as to regulations that should be made under the Development Act.