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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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NSW Government goes online to ensure public stays informed on planning matters

  • Date: 20.04.2020
  • Type: Departmental Media Release
  • Author: NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Councils will now be able to notify their communities of local planning matters online under new regulation introduced today to ensure the public receives the most accurate and up-to-date information during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 has been amended to remove the requirement on Councils to notify planning processes or applications in local newspapers and now require them to advertise these matters on council or NSW Government’s Planning Portal.


Deputy Secretary Planning and Assessment, Marcus Ray said the changes ensure local Development Applications and planning processes can continue throughout the pandemic.

"With many local newspapers moving online, often with paywalls, this is a small but important change to ensure that local development and construction can carry on throughout the current COVID-19 crisis without being slowed or stopped by outdated red tape," Mr Ray said. 

"These changes will ensure councils can keep planning staff in work and that the construction industry has a pipeline of local work now during the crisis and as we exit it in the future."

The changes modernise the planning process to ensure the public’s voice is heard on planning matters. 

"The changes to the Regulation not only allow for online publishing of essential information, they also allow the Department and council additional flexibility to use alternative, additional methods to get the word out to the community which is particularly important in areas where internet access might be limited," Mr Ray said. 

"To ensure alignment, the Local Government (General) Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 was also made under the Local Government Act. This ensures a consistent approach under both Acts to the requirements for councils to advertise certain matters. The Office of Local Government has today issued a circular providing local councils with further technical information about the new regulations."


"Ensuring the transparency of the planning system and that the public is informed and consulted, is at the heart of our planning system. Modernising the Regulation to reflect today’s communication practices ensures that transparency and consultation continues unimpeded by changes in the publishing landscape."


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