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Property sector urges MPs to back "no-brainer" reforms


The state’s property sector is on board with John Rau’s revised infrastructure funding model, and has intensified its lobbying of MPs ahead of a crucial vote that will redesign South Australia’s planning regime.

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The Property Council and the Urban Development Institute (UDIA) have penned a joint letter to MPs urging support for contentious aspects of Planning Minister John Rau’s reform bill.

“[We] are calling on members of Parliament to carefully consider the potential … to create jobs, stimulate the economy and simplify our planning system,” they write.

“The over-arching objective of this legislation is to make South Australia the most attractive destination for investment of capital and make life easier for residents and businesses wanting to build or develop.”

Both bodies favour Rau’s push to remove councillors from Development Assessment Panels, a clause the Local Government Association is confident will fail after recent assurances from the Greens and Dignity for Disability.

However, both the Property Council and UDIA “remain opposed to the inclusion of a statutory urban growth boundary, due to the inflexibility of such a mechanism to respond to future demographic and economic changes”.

The boundary was defeated before parliament rose last year, however it’s expected Rau will seek to reintroduce it through the Lower House.

Both organisations have come to resolution with Rau over his infrastructure fund arrangements, which he flagged in InDaily last week.

UDIA Executive Director Pat Gerace said the legislation now contained “two distinct schemes”, one for basic infrastructure “which had long been called for by the UDIA” and another more general scheme.

“The UDIA has fought hard to ensure that the infrastructure schemes were fair and improved housing affordability,” he said.

“We have been very clear that any infrastructure delivery scheme needed to improve transparency, accountability and most importantly improve housing affordability… [we’re] pleased that the Government has agreed to our requests that more consultation and public disclosure be included around the operation of both types of schemes.

“The Urban Development Institute thinks that it is important these types of schemes are voluntary and no one pays any levy unless they agree.”

Property Council executive director Daniel Gannon told InDaily that after years of reviewing “our state is in an enviable position to green light no-brainer reforms like removing councillors from Development Assessment Panels”.

“But there’s an element of risk in this not taking place, and that’s why politicians can rest assured in the knowledge that the largest private sector industry in SA is hungry for sensible and professional measures to pass Parliament,” Gannon said.

“What we don’t want is onerous green- and red-tape, the ongoing politicisation of our planning system, and further barriers to creating jobs and driving economic development.”


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