Analysing the New Assessment Regime Under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016

Monday May 29, 2017

Victoria Shute, Lawyer from KelledyJones Lawyers joined Ashleigh Tesluk of Legalwise Seminars to discuss the new assessment regime under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.

Victoria Shute

Victoria’s expertise has, since 2013, been recognised by her peers in the prestigious Best Lawyers Australia list in Planning and Environmental Law, which identifies the nation’s outstanding legal talent.

You can hear from Victoria directly at The New Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 seminar on Wednesday 28 June 2017 at the Stamford Plaza Adelaide.


Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, Victoria (experience, your practice, what you’re working on, etc)?

I have a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice with Honours and a Bachelor of Arts and was admitted to practice in 2005. I was soon thereafter employed as the Judicial Associate to the Judges of the Environment, Resources and Development Court. I have practiced in planning and environment law my whole career. For the past 9 years I have worked exclusively for local government clients. I am a founding member of KelledyJones Lawyers, Adelaide’s first and only law firm which is dedicated to local government and non-profit clients. Planning law is a very busy area in our practice; planning decisions are, by their very nature, contentious. Just about every assessment, request, decision, direction or act made by a council under planning legislation can be challenged by developers and neighbours. Given that new development can deeply affect our sense of place and the things we like about our neighbourhoods, it is an area where legal challenges are very common. My practice is a mix of advisory, appeals, reviews, enforcement and prosecutions.

The seminar will examine the key aspects of the new Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016. Can you broadly explain the significance of the new Act, and in particular, how Councils across the state will be affected?

The significance of this new Act cannot be understated.

Our State’s entire planning and development system is changing. The way in which planning policy and assessment criteria are set, the manner in which development applications are lodged and assessed and the bodies who will make those decisions will all change. Literally every aspect of our planning system will be different. Councils will still be expected to administer the majority of decisions made under the Act, and will be affected by those that they are not responsible for. It is vital therefore that anyone with an interest in planning is prepared for the implementation of this new Act.


Your topic analyses the New Assessment Regime. Can you explain what has changed from the old regime?

The new assessment regime under the PDI Act proposes vast differences in the way in which new development will be assessed.

The PDI Act is intended to facilitate a greater codification of planning assessment criteria, meaning that there will be less merits assessment of development applications. Where merits assessments are to occur, they will occur on certain aspects of a development, rather than the development as a whole. This is a seismic shift from current development assessment processes, where most development applications are assessed wholly on their merits.

The pathways that apply to development assessment are also changing. There will be far fewer applications that proceed to full public notification and for which third-party appeal rights exist. Further, the range of persons who can determine development applications will change, with a greater emphasis on private certification and a reduced ability for Councils to delegate their assessment functions and powers.

If there were 3 critical areas that Local Councils (or others affected by the Act) need to be aware of with the New Assessment Regime what would they be?

  • Lodgement requirements
  • New assessment criteria
  • Public notification – when, where and how it will occur and what Appeal rights exist

What are some of the trends and developments you see ahead as a result of the new Act coming into effect?

  • More difficulty in development application lodgement for laypersons due to electronic lodgement requirements.
  • More disputes over assessment pathway determination – the more codified the system the more complex it may be.
  • More disputes concerning private certifiers, particularly given the new Act’s focus on automatic consents where a Council or other authority does not adhere to legislative time frames.


You can hear from Victoria directly at The New Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 seminar on Wednesday 28 June 2017 at the Stamford Plaza Adelaide.



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