Insights / May 2nd, 2017

Retirement villages, residential care facilities and associated development declared development of major social importance

On 19 April 2017, without any pomp or ceremony, the Minister for Planning declared applications for development made before 30 June 2018 for the following types of development to be development of major social importance under section 46(1)(b) of the Development Act 1993 (SA) (the Act):

  • a retirement village as defined under the Retirement Villages Act 2016 (SA);
  • a residential care facility as defined in the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth); and
  • if taking place on contiguous or adjacent land and exceeding $20M in value, associated development including:
    • office, retail and commercial facilities;
    • medical facilities and consulting rooms;
    • training and education facilities;
    • sporting and recreational facilities;
    • works for or related to water or electricity supply, telecommunications, stormwater, effluent disposal, roads and car parking, and any other ancillary or associated infrastructure in connection with any of the above development types;
    • a change in use of land associated with any of the above development types;
    • division of an allotment associated with any of the above development types; and
    • any related or ancillary development associated with any of the above development types.

Under section 46(1) of the Act, the Minister for Planning can declare a proposed development a major development if he or she is of the opinion that a declaration is appropriate or necessary for the proper assessment of development of major economic, social, or environmental importance.

Under section 46(1)(b) of the Act, upon making a declaration under section 46(1), the Minister can declare a specific kind of development to be a major development or project under section 46.

In general terms, once a declaration has been made the Development Assessment Commission determines the assessment level (environmental impact statement, public environmental report or development assessment) and provides guidelines. The proponent then prepares the assessment document for public and agency consultation. Public comments are received and responded to, the application is assessed and an assessment report prepared by the Minister. The Governor then gives a decision on the development. There are no appeal rights from the Governor’s decision.

The major development or project pathway is by no means simple and requires a detailed application. Despite this, the declaration that applications for development of retirement villages, residential care facilities and associated development are of major social importance is a positive for all those involved in the senior living sector.

If you would like further information in relation to major developments or assistance with your application please contact one of our team.