NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Drastically reduced planning assessment times, less red tape, and user friendly e-planning tools will help turbo-charge the economic recovery, through an $83 million NSW Planning Reform Action Plan revealed today.


Speaking at a Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA) event, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the plan would build on momentum created by the NSW Government’s efforts to use the planning system to keep people in jobs and keep the economy moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“The planning system has proved an incredibly powerful tool in our fight against the economic impacts of the pandemic,” Ms Berejiklian said.


“This plan takes us into the next phase of reform, creating a system that is efficient, rigorous, supports our economy and our environment, is accessible online and is easy for anyone to use.”


The changes will slash times as follows;

  • Rezoning decisions cut by 191 days (33% time savings)
  • Decisions on Development Applications (DAs) for larger, regionally significant projects cut by 91 days (25% time savings)
  • Decisions on major projects of significance to the State cut by 20 days (17% time savings).

The Government has also invested almost $10 million to enhance its ePlanning platform and ensure all councils can get online to process DAs more quickly and transparently slash DA processing times by more than half.


“Homeowners can now lodge DAs online from the comfort of their home, making renovating quicker, easier and hassle-free,” Ms Berejiklian said.


All councils will have to adopt the online system by 1 July 2021.


Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the NSW Planning Reform Action Plan builds on the momentum underway to create a more timely, certain and transparent planning system.


“In the past 10 weeks alone, we’ve approved projects worth more than $1 billion a week, unlocking the potential to create more than 30,000 jobs, 2 million sqm of open space and more than 8,000 new homes,” Mr Stokes said.


“This plan will cut unnecessary duplication of processes and boost resources in our assessment team, so that we can keep as many people in jobs and keep our State moving both now and in the months and years ahead.


“NSW Government agencies are also on notice as part of this plan both to reduce the number of unnecessary concurrences and referrals cases, and reduce those that are outside statutory time frames, with support from the newly established Planning Delivery Unit that is unblocking projects that are stuck in the system.”


The NSW Planning Reform Action Plan also includes:

  • Implementing the next phase of the ePlanning Program to make it easier to interact with the planning system;
  • A reduction in applications requiring agency concurrences and referrals, and new benchmark time frames on key assessment and planning functions;
  • Complying development reforms to support emerging industries and fast track government projects; and
  • Boost the role and resourcing of the Land and Environment Court by establishing a new class of appeals for rezonings to help unblock the planning system and appoint an additional two commissioners to enable more cases to be heard each year.

For more information on the Planning Reform Action Plan visit www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Planning-reforms