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NSW Department of Planning and Environment
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Legislative changes to simplify the planning system

  • Date: 06.05.2016
  • Type: Ministerial Media Release
  • Author: The Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning

Planning Minister Rob Stokes today announced the NSW Government will release draft amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 in the second half of the year, which will help to build a simpler, modern planning system.


The proposed amendments will include those that received broad support during consultation on the Planning Bill 2013 and contain new measures to make the system easier to use and understand.


Mr Stokes said significant reform has been undertaken since 2013, including the introduction of the Greater Sydney Commission and assessment time improvements, however planning laws are still too complex and inefficient.


“Proposals that were broadly supported in 2013 will be included in the consultation process. Additional amendments will also be considered, following issues identified by stakeholders and the community over the past year, in our attempt to make the planning system simpler, fairer and more accessible,” Mr Stokes said.


“NSW leads the nation in economic growth. We need a planning system that can help support sustainable development as we accommodate an extra million people in Sydney over the next 10 years.


“We need a system that promotes sustainable growth with access to jobs, great neighbourhoods and a healthy environment. "Our amendments will focus on ensuring confidence and consistency within the planning system.”


The intended amendments that received broad support during consultation on the Planning Bill 2013 include:

  • Improved community engagement;
  • Clearly stating the hierarchy of state, regional and local plans; and
  • Clearly stating the development pathway and consent authority for development.


Additional areas the Government is considering include:

  • Increasing transparency and reducing the risk of conflict of interest;
  • Strengthening the focus on good design as part of decision-making;
  • Introducing pre-development application consultation between neighbours;
  • Clarifying assessment pathways and expanding independent and transparent decision making for local development;
  • Ending transitional arrangements for projects approved under Part 3A, including modifications;
  • Reducing complexity of complying development; and
  • More regular reviews of local government planning controls as part of the strategic planning process.


The community will be able to have their say on the draft legislation before introduction into parliament. The Government expects to release the draft legislation in the second half of this year.

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