NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Guide to the updated Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

Updated Environmental Planning and Assessment Act

NSW has an updated, modern planning system that is simpler, faster and designed to ensure high quality decision and planning outcomes for the people of NSW.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 has been updated and is the culmination of the biggest overhaul of the Act since the legislation’s inception almost 40 years ago.

The new Act follows the passing of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Act 2017 in the NSW Parliament in November 2017. It will commence on 1 March 2018 with most of the changes coming into effect from this date. Others will take longer to come into effect as they require further guidance and consultation.

For further information, please call our Information Centre on 1300 305 695 or contact us.

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The Government is taking a staged approach to the commencement of the new Act to ensure a smooth transition to the new measures.

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The Act includes new objects that reflect the Government’s commitment to thriving, safe and well-designed communities with local character and heritage.

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New community participation plans will need to be prepared by all planning authorities.

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The Planning Assessment Commission will be known as the Independent Planning Commission, recognizing its independence and decision-making role.

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The Act recognises the importance of accountability and probity in the determination of Development Applications.

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The Act recognises the critical role of councils in strategic planning for their local area.

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Development controls in a council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP) need to be kept up-to-date and as simple as possible.

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The Act recognises the importance of Complying development adhering to the development standards, such as height limits and floor space ratios.

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The Act simplifies and clarifies the process for State Significant Development and closes transitional arrangements for Part 3A projects.

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There is a requirement for notification of proposed activities to ensure future plans for an infrastructure corridor will not be affected.

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The new Act strengthens building regulation and certification procedures to ensure quality and safety.

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The infrastructure contributions system has been improved to promote the efficient sharing of costs and benefits in infrastructure development.

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The new Act allows applicants to request an internal review from council of a decision about integrated development.

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The department and local councils will have the ability to enter into enforceable undertakings with people acting on a development consent, to allow for greater flexibility.

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The new Act is easier to navigate, understand and it has 10 principal parts, with all provisions decimal numbered.

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The Government began its review of the planning system in May 2016 when it announced it was updating the EP&A Act with the goal of building community confidence in the planning system.