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What is the Gateway process?

Local Environment Plans (LEPs) start with a planning proposal for a development. In most cases this is done by your local council. Proposals are then assessed by us. This is called the ‘Gateway’ process.

ResourcesThe five steps in the process are:


  1. The planning proposal - the relevant authority prepares the planning proposal.  The relevant authority is usually the local council, however the Minister can appoint the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment or a joint regional planning panel to be the relevant planning authority. 

  2. Gateway - the Minister (or delegate) decides whether the planning proposal can proceed (with or without variation) and subject to other matters including further studies being undertaken, public consultation, public hearings, agency consultation and time frames. A planning proposal does usually not proceed without conditions of this nature. The conditions are then complied with and if necessary, the proposal is changed. A decision on whether the relevant council is able to finalise particular types of LEPs is also determined at this stage.

  3. Community consultation - the proposal is publicly exhibited as required by the Minister. A person making a submission may also request a public hearing be held. 

  4. Assessment - the relevant planning authority reviews public submissions. Parliamentary Counsel then prepares a draft local environmental plan.

  5. The making of the LEP - with the Minister’s (or delegate’s) approval the local environmental plan is published on the NSW legislation website and becomes law.

View resources for plan making and tracking here.

In the interests of fairness and accountability, two review mechanisms were introduced in October 2012 for the gateway process. These reviews provide fairness and accountability to the process by allowing an independent body to review some decisions by councils and the department.

Pre-Gateway reviews: may be requested by a proponent if a council has not supported, or made a decision within 90 days, on a planning proposal. These reviews are informed by advice from joint regional planning panels (or the Planning Assessment Commission in the City of Sydney council area). 

Gateway reviews: may be requested by a council or proponent following a gateway determination by the Department before community consultation on the proposal has commenced.

Review tracking

You can track the progress of a plan or review through our online tracking systems.  


In some instances the Joint Regional Planning Panels may be appointed as the relevant planning authority to finalise a planning proposal.

Page last updated: 01/07/2016