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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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Ministerial Media Release

Feedback sought on proposed changes to development rules

  • Date: 31.03.2021
  • Type: Ministerial Media Release
  • Author: Rob Stokes, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces

The NSW Government has today released a discussion paper on proposed amendments to clause 4.6 of the Standard Instrument - Principal Local Environmental Plan which sets the test for varying development standards when making a development application.


The proposed amendments are in response to feedback from the development industry and local government that there is a need for a clearer and more robust test for varying development standards.


Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said that the proposed changes are part of the Government’s efforts to simplify the planning system while improving development standards.


“It is important that our planning system allows for flexibility which is why we have clause 4.6. However, it is a clause that has become unnecessarily complex and has been overused by many and abused by some,” Mr Stokes said.


“The proposed amendments allow for flexibility if an applicant can demonstrate that a variation to a development standard will deliver an improved planning outcome based on merit.”


Mr Stokes launched the discussion paper last night at an industry event hosted by the Environmental and Planning Law Association NSW (EPLA), adding that the need for changes to the clause were highlighted in the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s recently released Operation Dasha investigation report.


“The Independent Commission Against Corruption’s Operation Dasha emphasised an urgent need to reform clause 4.6 to increase accountability in the planning system,” he said.


“To address the Commission’s findings, it is proposed to impose a requirement that a consent authority – such as a council – publicly publish reasons for approving or refusing a clause 4.6 application on the NSW Planning Portal.


“In addition, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will also increase the frequency and consistency of the auditing of clause 4.6 determinations to strengthen accountability and transparency within the planning system.”


Industry stakeholders and the community are strongly urged to make a submission on the proposed changes.

For more information and to provide your feedback by 12 May 2021 visit: