SA Dept. for Trade & Investment

Bringing planning into the new age

The South Australian Department for Trade & Investment (DTI) is responsible for the state’s regional plans. These plans set the vision and strategic direction for planning and land use for the next 30 years – including housing, transport, infrastructure, and the environment. They are key tool for residents, businesses, councils and the community. 

However, planning has long been a paper-based exercise, with lengthy PDFs printed and distributed for use. By the very nature of this process, regional plans are out of date as soon as they’re published.  

SA DTI wanted to make these plans more accessible and had an ambitious vision to re-define how state planning data is made available and maintained. Their strategy involved setting up a groundbreaking digital portal for regional plans which would enable real time access and support all stakeholders to engage with state planning in ways never before possible. In a competitive process, DTI selected Versent as its partner of choice to help them to realise this vision.  

Bringing planning into the new age 

Versent utilised its digital product and technology capability to help realise this trailblazing vision. The program of work ran for 6 months and was broken into two core stages – a product validation process (PVP) that delivered a clickable prototype to clarify and visualise the intent and must have features; followed by the build of the portal itself. 

Excitingly, traditional printed books on shelves have now been replaced by a fully digitised, map-based portal built using real time data. This enables community members to access information specific to their parcel of land or take a wider look at plans and frameworks affecting their broader neighborhood. It supports planners with up-to-date data at their fingertips which enables them to make informed decisions and collaborate seamlessly with councils, state agencies, peak bodies, business and local communities.   

Sally Smith, Executive Director of Planning and Land Use Services at DTI, said: “We have taken regional planning to the next level and we’re now leading the way in terms of what the future can look like for government planning departments. What we’ve built embraces the latest technology to ensure that regional plans are always live, relevant and scenario based”.  

A dream team 

Versent deployed a multidisciplinary team of experts to work alongside the DTI team throughout the project, on a shared mission to achieve success.  

“We chose to work with Versent as they had an exceptional reputation, a broad range of services and the technical depth of their people was incredibly impressive.  Versent’s ability to really understand the challenges at hand and tease out information from stakeholders was key and we loved the fact that they had local resources here in South Australia.” said Smith. 

“It has been incredible working with Versent – they’ve got the creativity and ability to deliver the vision. We’ve truly had a partner working with us on this project; one who is just as excited about this product as we are.  

“This tool really pushes the innovation envelope within the planning industry, and it will pave the way in how we present planning information across industry. What we’ve built talks about the future, what could be possible and that is next level incredible” she added. 

Vilma Faoro, Versent Customer Partner echoed the importance of this collaborative approach to partnership: “DTI had a grand vision for a totally new approach, and the courage to pursue something that has never been done before. At Versent, we are energised by these game changing projects– and our success in delivering this portal has been a true joint effort with the department.  

“This project is truly cutting edge – and goes beyond just a technology change for SA planning. It lays the foundations for the whole industry to better meet the challenges of tomorrow – and we’re so proud to have worked with DTI to make it a success.”


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