NSW Department of Planning and Environment

New objects of the Act

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

When performing functions under the Act, authorities will be guided by three additional new objects promoting:

  • good design and amenity of the built environment
  • the sustainable management of built and cultural heritage (including Aboriginal cultural heritage)
  • the proper construction and maintenance of buildings, including the protection of the health and safety of their occupants.

What is the purpose of the objects of the Act?

The objects of the Act are guiding principles that need to be considered by planning authorities, such as councils and Local Planning Panels, when making decisions under the Act.

How can you measure good design?

Design is already a relevant consideration that may be considered by decision-makers. However, having a design object elevates the importance of design as part of the planning system as a whole and will ensure that design is considered and balanced with the other objects of the Act.

Good design can be measured and assessed against standards and guidelines set by the Government. For example, SEPP 65 enables good design by establishing a consistent approach to the design and assessment of apartments and the way councils assess them.

Better Placed, the Integrated Design Policy for NSW that was released in late 2017, provides a set of principles and guidance to support productivity, environmental management and liveability through good design in NSW.


The new objects of the Act will commence from 1 March 2018.

To read more about the changes to the act see Part 2 - Community Participation Plans.

Page last updated: 06/09/2022