If elected, I will work to build a new consensus among stakeholders – to create better certainty and guide better quality development – quality that both respects and protects our built heritage and looks forward – to make Adelaide city a character-rich place for all South Australians. We must encourage tomorrow’s heritage today – a city truly deserving of its tagline, ‘Adelaide: Designed for Life’.


It is now a quarter of a century since the last major review and overhaul of the Development Plan for Adelaide (City). That is a whole generation ago! Since then, it has been ‘amended’ some 50 times – but without a proper generational review. Colonel Light would be outraged that his precious jewel – our planned city in a park – has been left so exposed. This is a consequence of neglect – of forgetting our core purpose.

My longstanding interest in matters planning and place-making has been informed by a belief that good design and planning can help, and not hinder, the evolution of successful cities.

Following my three year term (2000-03) on the City of Adelaide’s Development Assessment Committee (DAC), in 2003 I was appointed to the SA Government’s DPAC (Development Policy Advisory Committee). A decade ago, as Deputy CE, in the Premier’s Department, I led the reinstatement of the role of SA Government Architect and establishment of the Integrated Design Commission of SA. This later evolved into the Office of Design and Architecture SA (ODASA) https://www.odasa.sa.gov.au/

The city economy will emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. The city has a crucial role in restoring confidence. Elected Members of The City of Adelaide and State Government administrations must be committed to ensuring they play their part in the recovery, setting the scene for the very best design and public amenity for present and future generations. It is time to replace the Development Plan for Adelaide (CIty) with a better instrument.

A City Plan, alongside the Development Plan – is hugely unwieldy. At some 25,000 pages the Development Plan is jam-packed full of inconsistencies – there are more than 1500 different categories of residential development alone!

Controlling development cannot, in isolation, make the right things happen.  A Plan should articulate, from social, economic and environmental perspectives, what we are trying to create. It should describe a preferred future, and identify what this implies for the use of land, for buildings, for the public realm, for infrastructure – and what kinds of initiatives or projects are required to best deliver that future. Only then can we say with any clarity and consistency of purpose what controls are to be put in place – because they are derived from a preferred outcome!

While The City of Adelaide will form part of the proposed State-wide Code – we can amend the Code for the City area. But to do this, we need a Plan – so that we can do that with clarity of intent. Otherwise it is just a jumble of restrictions gathered up from the past. This is why the City Council needs to get in and use the system for its benefit.

A new City of Adelaide Plan (not an old style Development Plan) is both the necessary mechanism to update the Code – and a means of building a constructive and more positive relationship with the State. The recession that we are now facing will dampen the market for a period. This is the perfect time to regroup and undertake this essential work that will ensure that the new statewide Code will work for the City, its people and for future development.