The making and amending of LEPs starts with a planning proposal. The planning proposal describes the outcome and justification for a LEP and is the key part of the LEP making process as set out under Division 3.4 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.
Planning proposals are reviewed by us through the Gateway process and, if supported, may be publicly exhibited. The Gateway ensures effort is invested at appropriate stages of the process and that authority and government agency and community consultation is informed and effective.
Once publicly exhibited, the planning proposal is ultimately assessed by the local plan-making authority and determined (this may be the Minister (or delegate) or council, depending on the type of LEP amendment). If the planning proposal is supported, the LEP is then made and notified.
Benchmark timeframes outline the maximum length of time each stage of the process is expected to take.
Active management of each planning proposal, ongoing improvements to processes, procedures and the systems required to support the assessment of proposals, and more open and upfront engagement with agencies and key stakeholders will result in more expedient timeframes.
There are four categories for planning proposals:
Basic - Minor LEP amendment for administrative, housekeeping, and minor matters of significance.
Standard – A site-specific LEP amendment seeking a change in planning controls that are consistent with the existing strategic planning framework.
Complex – Complex LEP amendment which may not be wholly consistent with the existing strategic planning framework and/or are types of LEP amendments not defined as Basic of Standard types of proposals.
Principal LEP – Comprehensive LEP amendment progressed by council and/or a proposal that includes multiple housekeeping amendments.
For more information on planning proposal category criteria, see the Department’s LEP Making Guideline.
A planning proposal can be initiated by either a proponent or council. In certain circumstances – particularly when it is of State significance, the Minister may initiate a LEP.
A planning proposal can only be prepared and submitted to the Department for Gateway determination by either the council for the LGA to which the LEP applies, a person or body directed by the Minister.
The body responsible for preparing and progressing a planning proposal is known as the PPA.
Council-initiated planning proposals
A council may initiate a LEP amendment or new LEP by drafting a planning proposal and submitting it to the Department for Gateway determination.
Proponent-initiated planning proposals
A landowner, developer or an individual seeking to amend the zoning or development standards that apply to land they own or have an interest in may initiate a planning proposal.
The information required to support the proposal is prepared by or on behalf of the landowner with the assistance of specialist consultants and submitted to the relevant council for consideration and assessment through the Planning Portal.
The relevant council (or PPA) must support the planning proposal before it is submitted to the Department via the Planning Portal for a Gateway determination.
Local Environmental Plan Making Process
A snapshot of the LEP making process is provided below.
Early due diligence should be undertaken to scope a proposal before the preparation of a planning proposal and to assist engagement with council, authorities and government agencies.
Proponents should reference the scoping proposal template when preparing and submitting a scoping proposal to council.
Council should refer the scoping proposal to the relevant authorities and government agencies in accordance with the agency pre-lodgement referral criteria.
Note: Referral to authorities and government agencies is encouraged but not mandatory. The Department is currently collaborating with authorities and government agencies and council in finalising this referral process – in the interim, referral and feedback is not a requirement but is a desirable outcome.
Following review of the scoping proposal, council should hold a pre-lodgement meeting with the proponent and issue written advice including planning proposal requirements. The purpose of this advice is to confirm whether the proposal has strategic and site-specific merit to progress to a planning proposal and identify necessary supporting information required for assessment.
Note: a proponent may still lodge a planning proposal with council, despite any views expressed by council during the pre-lodgement stage.
For council-led planning proposals, council should consult with DPIE (where relevant) and initiate any key agency consultant to support the proposal.
Proponent initiated planning proposal
The proponent, in seeking a LEP amendment and after receiving pre-lodgement advice, may lodge a planning proposal with the relevant council via the Planning Portal.
Council will undertake an assessment of the proposal and form a view as to whether the proposal has strategic and site-specific merit. This may include referral to a Local Planning Panel. If supported, council will submit the planning proposal to the Department for Gateway determination.
Council initiated planning proposal
A council may draft a planning proposal to amend or initiate a LEP and submit with the Department for Gateway determination.
When preparing a planning proposal, proponents and councils should refer to Part 2: The Planning Proposal of the LEP Making Guideline which details the matters to be addressed in any planning proposal.
Planning proposals must be submitted using DPIE’s online Planning Portal.
For more information on steps in this stage, see the Department’s LEP Making Guideline.
The rezoning review process allows a proponent to request an independent Planning Panel evaluate whether a proposal should progress to Gateway determination. This can only occur after the lodgement of the planning proposal with council and council has:
- notified the proponent in writing that it does not support the proposal
- failed to indicate its support for the planning proposal within 90 or 115 calendar days (depending on the planning proposal category) of the proponent lodging the planning proposal
- failed to submit the planning proposal for Gateway determination within 28 calendar days after it has indicated support.
All rezoning reviews should be initiated via the Planning Portal.
The Planning Panel will review the planning proposal and make a recommendation to the Minister on whether the proposal should be submitted for Gateway determination.
Rezoning Review Fees
Submission of a Rezoning Review Request $20,000 (assessment and referral to Panel/Commission).
Where a Planning Panel or the Secretary is appointed as the planning proposal authority - $25,000.
The Gateway determination is a checkpoint for a planning proposal to review strategic and site-specific merit and whether the planning proposal should proceed to public exhibition.
The Department will undertake a review of the proposal. This includes:
- a high-level check of the planning proposal to ensure the package meets the minimum administrative requirements
- a strategic merit assessment of the proposal against relevant district plan, regional plan, LSPS, section 9.1 Directions, SEPPs and any Department endorsed local strategy
- an assessment of potential environmental, social, economic, and infrastructure impacts of the proposal
- obtain high level advice and guidance from the Department’s legal team or PCO (where required)
- seek agency advice and/or comments, where required or where an authority or government agency has not consulted at the pre-lodgement stage
- review proposed community consultation and expected timeframe for the proposal
The Department then prepares an assessment report and provides a recommendation to the Minister (or delegate) on whether the planning proposal should proceed.
The Minister (or delegate) will issue the Gateway determination, which will specify:
- whether the planning proposal is supported to proceed or not
- any necessary technical studies or supporting studies
- whether the planning proposal needs to be amended (and possibly resubmitted to the Department) prior to exhibition
- required community consultation
- required consultation with State or federal authorities
- whether a local contributions plan is to be exhibited at the same time as the planning proposal
- whether a public hearing is needed
- the timeframes within which the various stages of the process for making of the proposed LEP are to be completed
- whether the council is to be authorised to make the proposed instrument as the LPMA
- any other conditions.
The purpose of the Gateway determination is to ensure early in the process that there is sufficient strategic and site-specific merit for the planning proposal to progress. A Gateway determination that specifies the proposal should proceed, does not guarantee that the proposed LEP will be made.
The Gateway determination may identify the requirement for any additional information, revisions, studies, or targeted consultation to occur with authorities or government agencies and other stakeholders prior to public exhibition. It may also identify that a revision needs to be considered by the Department prior to exhibition.
The PPA is responsible for ensuring the required matters are completed prior to the public exhibition of the planning proposal.
A proponent, or council when it is the PPA, may request that the Minister (or delegate) alter a Gateway determination.
Specifically, this review may be requested when a Gateway determination:
- States the planning proposal should not proceed,
- Requires that the planning proposal should be altered and re-submitted to which the proponent or council thinks this should be reconsidered, or
- Imposes conditions (other than consultation requirements) in the Gateway determination or imposes conditions that requires variation to the proposal, for which a proponent and/or council thinks should be reconsidered.
A PPA may at any time request the Gateway determination be varied and re-issued. Councils should contact DPIE to discuss any concerns about the Gateway determination before deciding to request a formal review. For some routine matters, a Gateway determination may be altered without the need for a Gateway Review.
A Gateway Review must be requested within 42 days of Gateway determination or intention with 14 days and formal request within 42 days of intention.
DPIE confirms whether a Gateway Review is eligible, and all information is provided and prepares an assessment report for the Independent Planning Commission (IPC).
The IPC reviews the proposal and provides advice on whether the Gateway determination should be altered.
The Minister (or delegate) then makes a decision to alter or refuse Gateway determination.
Refer LEP Making Guideline
The Gateway determination may identify the need to undertake additional studies, require consultation with authorities and government agencies and/or require amendments to the planning proposal prior to public exhibition.
This stage is an opportunity for the PPA to ensure that any Gateway conditions are actioned prior to public exhibition of the planning proposal.
This stage occurs per the conditions of the Gateway determination. The Gateway determination will specify the duration and extent of public exhibition required.
The recommended maximum period of public exhibition for planning proposals are as follows:
Basic – 10 working days
Standard – 20 working days
Complex – 30 working days
Principal LEP – 20 working days
Requirements for notification are described in the LEP Making Guideline.
The PPA must respond to all issues raised during the exhibition period and provide a summary that details the issue, the PPA response and whether the planning proposal will be amended and resolved to finalise.
If the planning proposal is proponent initiated, then the proponent should respond to any issues raised in submissions received.
As the planning proposal progresses to finalisation, the proposed LEP is drafted and made.
If council is the LPMA
Council prepares instructions for Parliamentary Counsel to draft the LEP and issue Opinion that the LEP can be made. Note: the Department will draft LEPs for map-only amendments.
The Department reviews maps and confirms they are consistent with the planning proposal.
Council resolves to make the LEP and issue to the Department for notification.
If the Department is the LPMA
The Department reviews the finalisation package and prepares instructions for Parliamentary Counsel to draft the LEP and issue Opinion that the LEP can be made. The Department consults with the council/PPA during this process.
The Department prepares finalisation report and makes recommendation to the Minister or delegate to make the LEP and issue for notification.
Once the plan is made, it is notified on the NSW Legislation website.
More detailed information about the LEP making process and guide to assist users with preparing planning proposals and the progressing through the LEP making process can be found here:
- LEP Making Guideline (PDF, 7.1 MB)
- LEP Making Attachment A – Scoping Proposal Template (DOC, 6.9 MB)
- LEP Making Guideline Attachment B – Interim Authority and Government Agency Planning Proposal Pre-Lodgement Referral Checklist (PDF, 219 KB)
- LEP Making Guideline Attachment C – Supporting Technical Information Guide (PDF, 119 KB)
- Planning Reform Action Plan FAQs (PDF, 198 KB).
Page last updated: 05/10/2022