Awaiting decision

Government Decisions during the State Government Election Campaign Period: Caretaker Conventions

Are you waiting on a decision from the State Government on an important matter?

The South Australian State Election will be held on 19 March 2022. In the lead up to a State election the Government will be preparing to go into Caretaker mode. Caretaker mode commences 28 days before the election on 18 February 2022, being the date that the current Parliament is formally dissolved in preparation for election of the new Parliament.

By convention, from this date the government assumes a ‘caretaker’ role and should avoid making decisions that would limit the freedom of action of an incoming government. This also means that the public sector must also adopt a number of administrative practices to safeguard its neutrality during this time.

During the caretaker period, it is expected that the government will generally avoid:

  • significant appointments
  • making major policy decisions that would bind an incoming government
  • making entering into major contracts or undertakings.

Practically, this means that during Caretaker mode the Government will likely avoid making decisions:

  • to initiate or approve Planning and Design Code Amendments;
  • to create or amend state planning policies;
  • to declare SCAP to be the relevant authority for developments on the basis of significance to the state;
  • to endorse private projects as essential infrastructure; and
  • to appoint new members of decision making bodies such as the State Planning Commission, the Native Vegetation Council and Landscape Boards.

Other day-to-day decisions may still occur during Caretaker mode where they would not limit the freedom of the incoming government to set policies affecting future decisions.

The government has published a Guide to Caretaker Conventions and Pre-election Practices – click here to view the guide.

Experience suggests that it can also be difficult to procure decisions from Government in the lead up to Caretaker mode, even though not strictly restrained by the Caretaker mode protocols. To be safe, decisions should where possible be sought and obtained well in advance of Caretaker mode.

If you have any questions about the Caretaker Conventions, contact us on 8212 9777 or at or