From 1 October 2021, the Rapid Assessment Framework for state significant development (SSD) and state significant infrastructure (SSI) will commence, introducing new streamlined processes for the assessment of major projects.
Types of state significant infrastructure
Some types of infrastructure are deemed to have state significance due to the size, economic value or potential impacts that it may have.
Infrastructure that is state significant is identified in the State and Regional Development SEPP.
State significant infrastructure includes major transport and services developments that have a wider significance and impact than just the local area.
The government has identified certain types of development that are SSI, for example:
- Rail infrastructure.
- Road infrastructure.
- Water storage and treatment plants.
- Wharf and boating facilities.
- Certain development in National Parks.
A proposal for any of the identified infrastructure types is SSI if it:
- is over a certain size
- is located in a sensitive environmental area
- would exceed a specific capital investment value.
The full list of SSI development types can be viewed in Schedules 3 and 4 of the State and Regional Development SEPP.
The Minister for Planning can deem that a State significant infrastructure project is essential for the State for economic, environmental or social reasons. These applications are known as critical State significant infrastructure. Critical State significant infrastructure proposals are determined by the Minister.
The department has prepared standard Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for critical State significant infrastructure projects in consultation with other government agencies.
The objectives of the Standard SEARs are to:
- achieve a better outcome by focusing the environmental impact statement on those issues that:
- cause the greatest impact;
- affect the most sensitive aspects of the environment; and
- are of greatest interest or concern to the community.
- provide Proponents, with certainty about the majority of SEARs they can expect to be issued for Critical State significant infrastructure projects.
The department has developed the Critical State Significant Infrastructure Guideline, that sets out the general principles for the declaration of projects as State significant infrastructure (SSI) and critical State significant infrastructure (CSSI).
The Guideline was developed as part of the Rapid Assessment Framework package, a suite of proposed system improvements that increase the efficiency of major project assessments and speed up assessment timeframes while also improving assessment quality, engagement standards and customer service.
Once you have determined that your proposal is SSI, you can lodge your application online at the department’s major projects website.
All SSI 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 the major projects website.
The Minister for Planning is the approval authority for SSI applications. SSI applications are assessed by the department. The Minister may delegated his power to make a number of decisions to senior officers of the department. For more information about delegations please visit the Delegated Decisions page.
All Critical State significant infrastructure proposals are determined by the Minister.
All SSI applications 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 SSI applications, the department will:
- place an advertisement in a State wide and local newspaper
- place electronic copies of the application and all supporting information available on the department’s major projects website
You can make an online submission about an SSI 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.
View State significant applications currently on public exhibition.
SSI applications are assessed by the department. The department considers the following when assessing SSI 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
- Environmental Protection Authority
- Department of Industry
- Office of Environment and Heritage
- Roads and Maritime Services
- Transport NSW
- Department of Education
- Commonwealth Agencies -Department of Environment, Department of Defence
An applicant can apply to the Minister for Planning to modify an SSI approval. Requests must be lodged with the department. 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
There is no provision for merit appeals by applications against SSI determinations.
Objectors Appeal Rights
There is no provision for merit appeals by objectors against SSI determinations.
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 making the decision. The appeal must be made within 3 months of the decision being notified.
Third party appeal rights are not available in relation to critical State significant infrastructure.
Further information can be found in the Development Assessment Appeal Rights Fact Sheet.
The department has prepared indicative standard conditions of approval for linear state significant infrastructure (SSI).
The conditions will assist proponents, the community and other stakeholders, councils and government agencies understand the types of conditions that are likely to apply to linear SSI projects.
The final conditions of approval 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. Additional conditions may also be added to respond to specific social and environmental issues.
The indicative standard conditions of approval for linear SSI will replace the ‘standard and model conditions’ for linear infrastructure that were previously available on the department’s website.
The following document is available for download: SSI Standard Conditions of Approval - February 2022 (PDF, 951 KB).
The department will regularly review these conditions.
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Page last updated: 04/10/2022