The Rapid Assessment Framework for state significant development (SSD) and state significant infrastructure (SSI) streamlines processes for the assessment of major projects.
Some types of development are deemed to have state significance due to the size, economic value or potential impacts.
State significant development is identified in Chapter 2 of the Planning Systems SEPP.
Types of state significant development
The NSW Government has identified certain types of development as state significant. These include:
- new educational establishments, hospitals and correctional centres
- chemical and other manufacturing
- mining and extraction operations
- tourist and recreation facilities
- some port facilities
- waste management facilities
- energy generating facilities.
A proposal is also considered state significant development if it:
- is over a certain size
- is located in a sensitive environmental area
- will exceed a specific capital investment
In addition, development on identified sites can be considered state significant. Identified sites include Sydney Olympic Park, Darling Harbour, the Bays Precinct and Barangaroo.
The full list of SSD types and identified sites can be viewed in Schedules 1 and 2 of Chapter 2 of the Planning Systems SEPP.
The Minister for Planning may also ‘call in’ development proposals if a proposal is considered to be of state significance.
Changes to the application payment process
We’re changing the way we charge applicants fees for assessment. All applicants have to pay a fee to have their application assessed by the department. Our practice to date has been consistent with case law, which allows for application fees to be paid up to the point of determination.
From 1 July 2021, all SSD applications, including modifications, will require payment before they can be considered lodged. This new way of working provides certainty and consistency to applicants by aligning the timing of payment for development applications.
To minimise delays, it is important to make sure information supplied is complete and correct when an application is submitted. This includes, providing a Quantity Surveyor’s Report, where required, to support the Capital Investment Value cited in the application.
All SSD applications are listed on the department's major projects website. The application and all supporting information are available to view online. The website's tracking system identifies what stage a project is up to in the assessment process.
The department’s assessment report and the application determination (including conditions of consent or reasons for refusal) are also made available to view on that major projects website.
How to lodge a state significant development application
Once you have determined that your proposal is SSD, you can lodge your application online at the major projects website.
The Independent Planning Commission (the Commission) is the consent authority for SSD applications:
- that are not supported by relevant council(s), or
- where the department has received more than 50 unique public objections, or
- that has been made by a person who has disclosed a reportable political donation in connection with the development application.
To find out more about applications referred to or determined by the commission, visit the Independent Commission's website.
The Minister for Planning is the consent authority for all other SSD applications. The Minister has delegated his power to make a number of decisions to senior officers of the department.
All applications for SSD are publicly exhibited for a minimum 28 days (longer if the exhibition overlaps with the Christmas/New Year period between 20 December and 10 January (inclusive)).
During the public exhibition period for SSD applications, the department will:
- notify surrounding residents in writing (council is consulted on the notification area, which will vary depending on the scope of the proposal) unless the application is public notification development including mining and petroleum (oil and gas) SSD applications
- place an advertisement in a State wide and local newspaper
- place electronic copies of the application and all supporting information on the department’s major projects website
You can make an online submission about an SSD application during the public exhibition period via the relevant application page on the department’s major projects website.
You can also send any written submission to the department by post or email.
You can also view the state significant applications currently on public exhibition.
SSD applications are assessed by the department and considers the following when assessing SSD applications:
- existing strategic plans and policies (including state, regional and local)
- feedback and comments from the relevant local council(s)
- specialised and technical input and advice received from federal and state government agencies
- public submissions received during the exhibition
- the public interest
The department’s assessment and recommendation are set out in the department's Environmental Assessment Report. The recommendation (including either conditions of consent or reasons for refusal) is referred to the Minister, or his delegate for determination.
Examples of government agencies consulted by the department
- Environment Protection Authority
- Office of Environment and Heritage
- Department of Primary Industries
- Roads and Maritime Services
- Transport NSW
- Department of Education and Communities
- NSW Health.
An applicant can apply to the Minister for Planning to modify an SSD approval. Requests must be lodged with the department for assessment. The modification request will be appropriately notified / exhibited depending on the scale of the proposed modification and the potential for environmental or social impacts.
Applicant Appeal Rights
An applicant can lodge an appeal against a determination with the NSW Land and Environment Court within 6 months of the decision (or within 6 months of lodgement of a modification application).
Objectors Appeal Rights
Objectors can only lodge an appeal against the merits of an SSD determination when the development would otherwise have been designated development. The appeal must be made within 28 days of the notification of the decision.
Anyone can appeal the legal validity of a decision if they consider that there has been a breach of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 in determining the application. The appeal must be made within 3 months of the decision being notified.
Further information can be found in the Development Assessment Appeal Rights Fact Sheet.
Review of Decision
Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, an applicant of a SSD project may request a review of decision or determination. The review can be either an internal review by the department, or the department can refer the review to the Independent Planning Commission.
Further information can be found in the Review of Decision for SSD and SSD Modifications Fact Sheet (267 KB, PDF).
The department has prepared indicative standard administrative and reporting conditions for State significant development (SSD).
The conditions will assist applicants, the community and other stakeholders, councils and government agencies understand the types of administrative and reporting conditions that are likely to apply to State significant development (SSD).
The final conditions of consent applied to each project may differ because the department will respond to the findings of the environmental impact statement. Some conditions may not be applied, may be partially applied, or may be modified.
For example, the department will decide whether a Community Consultative Committee (CCC) should be established in accordance with the department’s CCC Guidelines.
Additional conditions will be added to respond to specific social and environmental issues.
The Indicative Standard Conditions for SSD will replace the ‘standard and model conditions’ that were previously available on the department’s website.
Please see the following links to indicative standard conditions relevant to each sector:
The department will regularly review these conditions.
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Page last updated: 01/03/2023