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It will be clearer and easier for members of the community to understand how they can participate in planning decisions, with new community participation plans (CPPs) that all planning authorities – every council and NSW agency with key planning approval functions – will need to prepare.


The CPPs will set out how planning authorities will engage with their communities across their statutory planning functions. While the plans must meet the minimum requirements for community participation that are set out in Schedule 1 to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, planning authorities can go beyond the minimum requirements if they decide it is appropriate.

 

The EP&A Act requires planning decision-makers to give and publicly notify reasons for their decisions, including how community views were considered, on key planning matters.

 

Why are community participation plans being introduced and will they duplicate work already being carried out by councils?

The Government is committed to enhancing opportunities for all members of the community to participate in planning decisions to achieve better planning outcomes. The new CPPs will detail how each planning authority will engage the community in the planning decisions it makes.

 

In preparing their plans authorities will have to take into consideration new community participation principles, which set the standard for how the community should be engaged.

 

Councils may choose to meet their obligation for a CPP by incorporating the CPP requirements into the broader community engagement strategies they prepare under local government legislation but need to ensure the document meets the requirements of the EP&A Act.

 

Why do decision-makers need to publish the reasons for decisions?

It is a requirement for all planning authorities to make available the reason for their planning decisions. This helps to deliver greater transparency and community confidence in  the NSW planning process. It will make it easier for stakeholders to understand how their input, and that of others, was considered and how this input informed decisions on development applications.


The statement of reasons needs to be meaningful. It needs to clearly set out, in a manner reflecting the complexity of the proposed development being considered, how community views were taken into account. Read the Department’s guidance, Notifying Planning Decisions - Guidelines for local councils and other consent authorities (Pdf, 399 KB) on how councils and other consent authorities notify the community of planning decisions.

 

Commencement

CPPs are a new requirement under the EP&A Act. The requirement to give and publicly notify reasons for decisions came into effect on 1 July 2018.

 

All applicable NSW planning authorities will be required to have the final version of their community participation plan in place by 1 December 2019.

 

Local planning panels and Sydney district and regional planning panels will be required to give written reasons of their decisions and make them publicly available from 1 March.

 

To read more about the updates to the Act see  Part 2 - Independent Planning Commission.

Page last updated: 21/01/2019