Government agreements and forums

Bilateral agreement - environment protection and biodiversity conservation

The Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999 gives the Commonwealth an approval role for certain kinds of development that are considered to be of national environmental importance. Under the assessment and approval provisions of this Act, actions that are likely to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance are subject to a rigorous assessment and approval process. The Act currently identifies six matters of national environmental significance:

  • World Heritage properties
  • Ramsar wetlands of international significance
  • listed threatened species and ecological communities
  • listed migratory species
  • Commonwealth marine areas
  • nuclear actions, including uranium mining.

The Commonwealth and NSW Governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2013 which lays the groundwork for a bilateral agreement to streamline environmental approvals under the EPBC Act.

Building Code of Australia - national standards

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings throughout Australia. Though a national code it allows for variations in climate and geological or geographic conditions, and the particular needs of states and territories. The Australian Building Codes Board manages the BCA. This board has been established via an intergovernment agreement. It is a cooperative arrangement between Commonwealth and state/territory governments, local government and the building industry. The Department of Planning coordinates the implementation of the BCA in NSW. It also advises the Building Codes Committee, the Board's peak technical advisory body, on proposed changes to building regulations.

National Development Assessment Forum

The Department of Planning is a member of the Development Assessment Forum (DAF), a national forum created to identify leading edge approaches to development assessment in Australia and to encourage the adoption of best practice. Membership includes federal, state/territory and local governments, the development industry and professional associations. For more information, see the Development Assessment Forum website at

Consultation protocol with local government

On 26 October 2009, the Minister for Planning, the Presidents of the Local Government and Shires Associations and the Director-General of the Department of Planning signed an agreed communications and consultation protocol. This protocol will better enable the Local Government and Shires Associations to offer substantive comment on matters that can have major planning, financial, policy or operational implications for local councils in NSW. Constructive and practical feedback from local government on changes to planning practice is essential and will assist in improving the quality of the planning system in NSW.

Last Updated 26-Nov-2013