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There are nine development assessment systems in NSW that enable the State Government, councils and private certifiers to assess and determine developments. These range from major State significant development and infrastructure projects to home renovations and garages.


The consent authority that assesses and determines a development application is guided by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (EP&A Reg), and a number of State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) and Local Environmental Plans (LEPs).


EP&A Act

The EP&A Act sets out the laws under which planning in NSW takes place. The main parts of the EP&A Act that relate to development assessment and approval are Part 4 (Development Assessment) and Part 5 (Environmental assessment).


The Minister responsible for the Act is the Minister for Planning.

EP&A Regulation

The EP&A Regulation sets out how certain functions under the EP&A Act should be carried out, fees associated with development assessment and other procedures.


Schedule 3 of the EP&A Regulation defines the types of designated development that will have a high impact (e.g. likely to generate pollution), or are located in or near an environmentally sensitive area (e.g. a wetland), and warrant a detailed environmental impact statement.

Environmental Planning Instruments (SEPPs and LEPs)

Environmental planning instruments are statutory plans made under Part 3 of the EP&A Act that guide development and land use. These plans include State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) and Local Environmental Plans (LEPs). 


State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) can specify planning controls for certain areas and/or types of development. 

SEPPs can also identify:
  • the development assessment system that applies to developments (e.g. whether a development is State significant)
  • the type of environmental assessment that is required (e.g. whether an environmental impact statement is required). 
Key SEPPs relating to the assessment system include: 


Local Environmental Plans list the types of development that are allowed in each zone of a local government area, and those that do not need development consent.


The Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan sets out the format and structure that councils should follow when making a LEP.


All SEPPs and LEPs are available from the Legislation NSW website.

Other Systems Information

Page last updated: 21/08/2015