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Norman Waterhouse

Site Contamination Assessment – Updates to Practice Direction 14

Site contamination assessment in the South Australian planning system is guided by processes and policies provided for in the Planning and Design Code (Code), the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations (Regulations) and the State Planning Commission Practice Direction 14.

Practice Direction 14 was varied by the State Planning Commission on 26 May 2022 and Version 2 subsequently commenced operation on 23 June 2022.

The new version of Practice Direction 14 is available to view here.


The changes to Practice Direction 14 are largely administrative, intend to improve its function and consistency with the Code and Regulations. These changes include:

  • Amending the wording throughout the Direction to be consistent with the Regulations;
  • Removal of duplicated “agricultural activities” from Class 3 activity (this activity is already included as a Class 2 activity in Schedule 1);
  • Removal of the auditor’s role from the Site Contamination Declaration Form; and
  • Preliminary Site Investigations are now valid of five years (the same as audits).

Site contamination assessment – existing buildings

Where a proposed change in use is within an existing or an approved building, the proposed use is not to be classified as a more sensitive use and therefore does not require a site contamination assessment to be undertaken. Exclusions apply where the existing use falls under primary production, commercial class 2 or industrial land use, and where the proposal includes a sensitive use of a building which is at or below ground level.

Site contamination assessment – residential development on farming allotments

A site contamination assessment is also no longer required for the construction of a “domestic residential” building on land that exists as a farming allotment. The proposed use is not to be regarded as a more sensitive use where the proposal involves the construction of a building on the land to be used for residential purposes.

Activities set out in the Land Use Sensitivity Hierarchy Table 1 will also be taken to include a use which is ancillary or subordinate to the land use, unless stated to the contrary.

Sensitive land use – land division

Version 2 of the Direction also clarifies that a land use will not be regarded as a sensitive use in the case of a land division if the allotment has already been lawfully created for a residential purposed and has not been used for any other purpose since that time.

The State Planning Commission has also indicated that subsequent changes to the Regulations and Code are anticipated to come into effect in the coming months. Norman Waterhouse will continue to update the sector as these amendments are prepared and formalised.

For more specific information on any of the material contained in this article please contact Peter Psaltis on +61 8 8210 1297 or or Alice Tonkin on +61 8 8217 1372 or


4 July 2022


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