NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Newly-elected councils will have clear performance benchmarks to meet in delivering planning decisions under reforms released today to create jobs, boost housing supply and attract investment.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said councils would be required to adhere to clear maximum timeframes for assessments and determinations.  

“The NSW Government sets its own strict benchmarks for assessing rezonings and development applications to ensure timeliness and certainty, and we are now asking councils to do the same,” Mr Stokes said. 

“Decisions can be tough to make, but we’re putting the onus on developers and councils to work together so there is sufficient information available to make confident and timely determinations.”

The Environmental Planning and Assessment (Statement of Expectations) Order and reserves the right for the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces to intervene where councils are not upholding their responsibilities.

The Government has also released a discussion paper on improvements to the rezoning process, which support prompt decision-making, more informed community consultation, and risk-based approaches to assessments, timeframes and fees.

“Planning delays increase housing costs and prevent new housing supply from being delivered in a timely manner. Our new planning guarantee will give the housing industry confidence that assessment timelines will be achieved,” Mr Stokes said.

“Last financial year we cleared 336 rezoning proposals through the system, paving the way for nearly 34,000 jobs and more than 40,000 homes. These draft reforms will go a step further by reducing timelines by up to a year for standard applications.”

In the interim, a new guideline has also come into effect to better explain the rezoning process and introduce new practices to immediately improve the system, including earlier engagement and categorising proposals based on their complexity.

For more information and to give feedback on rezoning reforms, visit planning.nsw.gov.au/rezoning-review.