COMMUNITIES WANT A SAY IN LOCAL DEVELOPMENTS

More than 60 percent of South Australians want to have more say in planning their own communities according to a McGregor Tan survey commissioned by the Local Government Association.

And almost 60% of respondents believe that their local Council is best placed to manage the assessment of development applications in their local area.

LGA President, Mayor Dave Burgess said two thirds (66%) of the 500 people surveyed think elected council members should be a decision maker on development applications.  Comparatively, only 23% of the community felt that this is an appropriate role for independent experts.

“With Councils calling for changes to our complicated and confusing planning system and the Government undertaking an extensive review the LGA thought it a good time to ask our communities what they wanted,” Mayor Burgess said.

“This survey returned results that clearly indicate community members want to be part of the planning process and they want the process managed by their local Council.”

The survey backed Council views about the complexity of the system with only 7% of respondents saying they have a strong understanding of the assessment process and 36% advising that they have no understanding at all.

Mayor Burgess said the LGA was still gathering Council views to inform its response to the Government and Parliament and would keep the public views gathered through the survey front and centre as it responded.

“It certainly appears that elements of the Government’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill which seeks to centralise decision-making and squeeze communities and their local representatives out of development assessment are at odds with public views.”

“The majority of respondents clearly felt that local Councils have a strong role to play in all aspects of the planning system- developing the strategic vision, setting local policy content and assessing development.  Communities also expect State and Local Government to work together.

Mayor Burgess indicated the survey had been conducted earlier in 2015 and on key issues revealed similar attitudes to a 2004 survey also conducted by McGregor Tan Research. The recent survey involved 500 metropolitan and country respondents.

The full survey report can be accessed here: http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/planningsurvey

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